My Paparotti – A TENor

My_Paparotti-p2.jpg

After watching Lee Je-Hoon’s fantastic role in Signal, I became interested in his other projects. Thus, I watched, My Paparotti, which is based on the true story of Kim Ho Joong, an opera singer who moved his audience to tears through his voice and troubled upbringing. Adapted into a film, Lee Je Hoon plays Jang Ho, a teen who is part of/head of a large gang, but dreams of becoming a tenor. Every since his grandmother died, he had wanted to fulfill her wishes of him singing on stage. However with his troubled lifestyle, he had been kicked out of four schools already. Finally, a fifth school decided to accept him into their music program. He meets Teacher Sang Jin, a past tenor who had a promising opera career before a vocal cord tumor shoved him out of performance forever. Both Sang Jin and Jang Ho have prickly personalities and of course they butt heads. Sang Jin thinks of Jang Ho as the trash of society because of his gangster lifestyle. Jang Ho doesn’t respect Sang Jin as a role model or teacher. However, slowly they begin to understand each other and compromise. Sang Jin becomes like a father to Jang Ho to the point where Jang Ho is almost integrated in his family. Jang Ho’s beautiful voice is molded carefully into performance standards by his new teacher. Sang Jin even tries to make Jang Ho’s Boss let him out of the gang by offering his own foot for exchange. Jang Ho is very moved by his teacher’s efforts and feelings. Thus, he decides to give up this lifestyle and not fight any longer. We see a real change in his attitude when rather than fight his attackers who trapped him before his concours, he only defended himself and focused on rushing to the competition as soon as he could escape. Although the competition itself was finished, his teacher fought for a chance for him to sing on stage.

I am very impressed with Lee Je Hoon’s acting. He is able to convey conflicting emotions very well. Furthermore, he does a great job lip syncing the opera parts which are sung by another artist. This is the second time seeing him play a “gangster” or “rough and ready” type role, with the other being Signal. I also enjoyed the touching dynamic he had with his mentor. The way they sang the non-opera duet was quiet moving and really conveyed their dreams and hopes for one another. Overall it is a great feel good movie with comedy and warmth.

 

 

 

Nightmare Teacher: Soul Contract

E1VOolmL_8dd173_c2x.jpg

There are seriously so many good dramas that are airing that I will not be able to keep up with! Fortunately, Nightmare Teacher is a special piece where episodes are only 15 minutes each. I came for Kim So Hyun, of course, one of the most talented young actresses. Here, she plays Ye Rim, president of her class and number one student academically. Her constant companion and friend that likes her is Sang Woo. Together, they experience a series of odd happenings as a substitute teacher takes over their class. Said teacher, Bong Gu, offers special counseling to students “in need”. One of his first “victims” is a girl who is an outcast in the class. He offers her a deal that will make her wishes of becoming popular true, if she signs a contract. While she does become mysteriously popular, it actually becomes detrimental to her later on as things escalate. She ends up not wanting to be popular anymore because of the pressure, but it is already too late. She “disappears” when the teacher takes her away to his special dimension. Unfortunately, the class does not remember that she even existed. This “contract” lures other students in as well when they unknowingly sign their souls away just so they fulfill a wish they have. However, Ye Rim and Sang Woo become a little suspicious of the disappearances and notes left behind by the victims. They are unable to place what is happening, but feel that something is up with the teacher.

Kim So Hyun’s bread and butter is spunky high school student roles. With only 4 episodes in, the story has yet to focus on her investigation / battle with the “demon” teacher. Instead, we see an interesting case of “be careful of what you wish for” as the previous victims regret what they had so fervently wanted. I am interested to see what Ye Rim would want or to see how she resists the teacher’s manipulative ways. She does not seem to be beguiled so easily and I am wondering how she will beat the teacher in his games. However, I predict that Sang Woo might disappear which will probably spur her into action. BTOB’s Minhyuk plays Sang Woo naturally enough and is cluelessly adorable in the drama. While he does not have D.O or Lee Joon’s chops yet, I wouldn’t mind seeing him develop in other small roles later on. As a quickie, this drama seems like fun (when I am actually waiting for Kim So Hyun’s other drama, Page Turner, to be subbed).

Vampire Detective: A New Strain

Vampire_Detective_Poster.jpg

OH OH OCN, you have lured me into watching the 7th airing drama on my list. Vampires done the right way for once! In the lieu of Vampire Prosecutor (which I will watch one day), we have vampire detectives now! Lee Joon is Yoon-San, who originally attended police academy before messing up a special undercover operations with two other new officers. One of these officers was his girlfriend, who always wore a sun pendant. However, after the three of them barely escaped from a dangerous situation, his girlfriend starts acting weirdly. She ends up shooting Yoon-San in the chest, and then blows up with the car and the third officer. I guess in one way, you can see it as her trying to save him before the car blows up. Yoon-San is mystified and heartbroken at the the turn of events. After recovering from his wound, he decides to do private investigating instead of pursuing a path in police work. He and Goo-hyung make a living investigating everything from murders to affairs. One day, Gyeo-wool visits them and demands that they help her find out why her brother is acting suspicious. They end up running into more suspicious people who have a storage of blood samples and the boss is a woman wearing a sun pendant. This piques their interest and they decide to take the case. It turns out that her brother is actually a vampire who is researching different blood strains in order to save his girlfriend. However, things come to a head as the brother and girlfriend sacrifices their lives to protect the little sister. Before the brother passes, he injects his new blood strain into Yoon-San who had leapt into the path of a bullet to save Gyeo-wool. The blood saves Yoon-San’s life as his chest wound heals. The three are left in amazement at the aftermath of such events.

Vampires can either be done very well or end up in nonsense.  Luckily, as a spinoff of Vampire Prosecutor, we know we have good writing and cinematography behind the wheel of this drama. Fortunately at the helm of this drama is Lee Joon, an idol turned actor that I very much admired due to his previous works. He has a wide range of acting, and I especially enjoy the brooding type. I am interested to seeing how his new powers manifest and how it will aid his job. Furthermore, I want to know what is up with the sun pedant woman and if it is old girlfriend. As for Goo-hyung and Gyeo-wool, the other two legs of this detective agency, they make nice support and I hope to see them develop more into their own characters. I am already loving Geyo-wool who is street smart and already a big help to their multiple escapes.

Page Turner: Another Chapter of Life

Page_Turner-p1

YAAAS. That is how I feel about this drama special. Not only do I get to be treated to Kim So Hyun, but I also get Ji Soo as a package. Kim So Hyun plays Yoo Seul, a piano prodigy who is number one at her art school and bitter rivals with another pianist, Jin Mok. Her mother, a piano teacher, used to teach Jin Mok who plays precisely, but with no feeling. However, through an incident while teaching Jin Mok, Yoo Seul’s genius is discovered. Thus her mom decides to dedicate her life into making Yoo Seul the best pianist ever, living vicariously through her talent. Yoo Seul is not just a bag of hot air, her talent is quite amazing and she always trounces Jin Mok soundly in competitions. Jin Mok hates her arrogance and even prays that she will get retribution. Unfortunately, said prayer seems to be heard and Yoo Seul gets into a tragic accident that takes away her ability to see. She damaged her optic nerve to which there seems to be no recovery from other than perceiving light/darkness. Meanwhile, Ji Soo plays Cha Sik, a talented pole vaulter who can’t take being looked down upon. He is playful and even a bit on the crazy side. However, he too, endures a tragic moment in his life where he aims for a vault a little too high. As a result, he acquires fractures in his back vertebrae that renders him useless in sports because extra stress would make his fractures worse. Now both Yoo Seul and Cha Sik has lost their major purpose in life. Yoo Seul, who actually doesn’t like playing piano, sees this as a opportunity to be free. Yet, her mother doesn’t want her to stop playing. She even tries to commit suicide. This makes Jin Mok feel guilty as he believes he is the cause of this. He also begins to see Yoo Seul in a different light. Cha Sik, who becomes depressed for while, finally finds his purpose in life too. After learning about his piano prodigy father from his mother, he decides he wants to do music as well. Meanwhile, Yoo Seul breaks the news of not wanting to rely on her mother 24/7 as well as stopping piano, to the horror of her mother.

Solid, solid acting by all three of our teenagers. Once again, Kim So Hyun plays that spunky, even a little arrogant teen to a tee. She never fails to garner my attention and even makes me feel sympathy for her unlikable character in the beginning. I am looking forward to how this life changing disability will affect her and how she will grow from it. Plus, I also hope she does not give up piano. More so, I am interested in how Ji Soo’s character will affect her outlook on life as well as how she will tutor him. I adore Ji Soo and his mom’s relationship in the drama. It is a high contrast from So Hyun’s and her mom’s relationship. Ji Soo’s bond depends on communication while So Hyun had repressed all her own opinions. And finally we have Jin Mok, who feels like the third leg into a probable love triangle here. I wonder if he will be able to infuse feeling into his piano playing after interacting with the new blind Yoo Seul. You know that the line between love and hate is really thin, right? We can already see that he doesn’t “really” harbor ill feelings towards his rival. He just wants her to be nicer, and now he feels extra guilty for what has happened. I am actually sad that this lovely set up will only be 3 episodes long!