Of course in my saguek mania mode, I decided to add one more traditional epic onto my plate. I have always admired Moon Geun Young as a very talented young actress. Add in a little crossdressing fun like Sungkyunkwan Scandal and you have me hooked. However, instead of your youth fusion, Painter of the Wind breaks some usual drama barriers. Moon plays Yun-bok, a young genius painter who is attending the royal school for artists. She is also a girl, but was brought up as a guy by her adopted family because her father had committed a sin against the royal family. She has a unique way of painting and looking at the world. One day, she hopes to work for the palace, but in the mean time she makes side money painting lewd paintings for nobles. She especially likes painting romantic rendezvous. However, during a painting competition held by the school, she unknowingly painted the Queen dowager having a illicit affair with a mysterious man. She submitted the work anonymously, but it caught the attention of the royal court and it become a huge deal. The queen was incredibly angry and wanted the hands cut off of the person who drew her affair, but did not want to give it away that it was her. Instead, a genius, but exiled painter was called back to figure our which younger painter in the school had painted it. Said genius is a Hong-do, a middle-aged gentleman who has unique teaching methods, but is incredibly famous for his amazing paintings. He especially had the king’s favor, who is also opposed to his grandmother’s power in the royal court. Hong-do manages to figure out that is was Yun-bok who painted the illegal painting, but did not know that she was a girl or that she was the daughter of his previous mentee. He takes her under his wing due to her amazing talent. Meanwhile, Yun-bok gets to know a gisaeng who is very pretty, haughty, has very high standards. She becomes her muse while the gisaeng actually slowly falls in love with her without knowing that they are both girls. Yun-bok really adores Jung-hyang who embodies the feminine side that Yun-bok never got to explore. Luckily Hong-do manages to save Yun-bok from getting her hands chopped off, but at the sacrifice of her adopted brother who got exiled from the school instead. Yun-bok also makes it into the royal painters association due to her skill and overcomes the obstacles that are set against her by jealous colleagues. However, it came with a price as the king now wants her and Hong-do to be his spies in order to best his scheming ministers. Of course, now Yun-bok is engaged in a weird love triangle between her new mentor and the gisaeng with neither of them knowing her true gender.
In the lieu of Hwayi, Coin Locker Girl has the same dark feel which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Il-young, who is named Ten for short, was abandoned as a baby and stored in one of those 10cent coin lockers at the subway. As a result, she grew up with the homeless and was later kidnapped by a loan shark gang. Even as a young girl, she proved herself resilient and capable of handling her jobs. This grabbed the attention of the gang head, Woo-hee, who is known as Mother of the underground society. Ten grows up to become the right hand man of Mother, handling all sorts of dirty jobs with a dispassion and calculation that frightens many. One day, she is supposed to retrieve the debt from this father-son pair, but only encounters the son because the father had ran away. The son, Seok Hyun, shows her a kindness that she has never encountered before in her harsh upbringing. He cooks for, takes her to movies, and gives her the warmth that she craves for. At first, she tries to treat him harshly to get the money from him, but slowly becomes attached. However, their little world collapses when Mother issues the order to kill Seok Hyun because his father had completely abandoned the family and left the debt to be taken care of by the son. Ten is emotionally unable to kill Seok Hyun and instead betrays the only family she has even known. They try to run, but don’t get very far as the rest of the gang catch up. Seok Hyun is brutally murdered before her eyes aInd his organs used to make up for his debt. This completely breaks Ten apart as she is now hunted by those who she once called family. She decides to take fate and vengeance into her own hands.
Weird. Odd. What? Those were my first thoughts when I started the drama. Interestingly enough, I had almost dropped the drama after just 2 eps. However, I am so glad I powered through as I quickly became absorbed and obsessed (marathoned to the current episodes). Gong Hyo Jin has a way of picking interesting and quirky drama projects which always turn out to be a special kind of hit. Here she plays Na Ri, a weather forecaster, who yearns to be an announcer at one of the biggest media companies. She is the breadwinner of her family and is barely making ends meet as a contract employee. During her years at the company, she had a crush on a reporter named Hwa Shin. Hwa Shin is your typical arrogant jerk and macho man. He not only ignored her crush, but at times went out of his way to be an asshole to her. Eventually Hwa Shin had been self-exiled to Thailand for a stint/scandal he caused at the news station regarding his family’s business.
Na Ri and Hwa Shin eventually meet up in Thailand to film a recruitment video. On this trip, Na Ri meets Jung Won, a sensitive and kind chaebol, who of course is also Hwa Shin’s best friend. These two develop light crushes on each other. Meanwhile, when Na Ri was prepping Hwa Shin for the video, she accidentally groped his chest and inadvertently found out about a nodule in his breast. With a long family history of breast cancer, Na Ri becomes obsessed with Hwa Shin’s chest and the fact that he might have breast cancer. He tries to ignore all her prompting to go get it checked out, but eventually succumbs. His whole world crumbles as he finds out that he has stage I breast cancer even though he is a guy. It was a blow to his pride, career, and life. Coincidentally, Na Ri also has a little nodule that she is getting removed that was non-malignant. As luck would have it, they are paired in the same room before surgery. He swears her to secrecy about his condition while she helps him through the recovery/radiation process.
Lee Jae In is a spoiled chaebol (Nothing new here). He spends most of his time yelling at his employees and royally ignoring his own grandfather (Eh, nothing new either here).
I feel the pain of Jae In’s employees.
Funny thing is this could be hard to believe for those who don’t know him as Jae In can show a kind side… but only if you are a customer of his high class hotel. As ruthless as he can be, Jae In is smart enough to make sure hotel guests are satisfied.
His life experiences a turn (probably for the best) when his grandfather decides to hand his inheritance to Kim Da Hyun, a warm school teacher. Da Hyun took care of the grandfather when she found him unconscious while outdoor with her students. From taking the grandfather to the hospital and paying his hospital fees, Da Hyun pretty much wins the grandfather’s heart.
For me, one of the most frightening apocalypse type events is bio warfare or a bio-accident. Disease that is hard to control coupled with it potentially having no cure or one that can’t be developed fast enough is just horrid to even think about. Train to Busan is not only an amazing horror/thriller zombie movie, but also one that portrays humanity in a time where it is survival of the fittest.
In the movie, Seok Woo is a fund manager who has a young daughter and is divorced from his wife due to him being a workaholic. In the beginning he is portrayed as a dad who is too busy with his job to spend quality time with his daughter. His daughter ends up guilt-tripping him into sending her back to her mother in Busan, a day earlier than she was supposed to go for her birthday. Fortunately, they catch the train to Busan where they just manage to avoid the imminent bio-apocalypse that is to befall the city of Seoul.
On the train, they meet Sang-hwa and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong, a high school baseball team, rich but selfish CEO Yon-suk, elderly sisters In-gil and Jon-gil, and a homeless man. Just before the train departs, another wounded woman jumps into the train as well. She seems to have a wound on her leg that is infecting the rest of her body fast.
Meanwhile, Seok Woo has fallen asleep on the train, while his daughter wanders the rest of the compartments out of curiosity and the need to use the bathroom. Soon, the wounded woman succumbs to the bite and starts to seize. A stewardess comes to check on her and in the process becomes the first victim to the now zombified woman. The bite and turning is fast and relentless as one person becomes affected after another. The compartments are small and there is no where to run.
Passengers start to panic, and soon only one compartment of the train is left with no zombies in it. Hope seemed to be in the near future as the passengers are asked to get off at another city that is fortified by military. However, by the time they get there, the military has already lost to the city of zombies and have turned themselves. Their numbers are halved even more as they must run back to the train as soon as possible. Unfortunately, in the chaos, not everyone boarded the safe compartment. Our main characters are hiding in different ones and must battle through the zombie infested compartments to save their loved ones and make it to the safe head compartment. It becomes a long arduous process that shows the different sides of humanity. Every action becomes a choice of saving yourself or help for the good of a group.
Since I like my drama heroines to be strong-willed and smart, I decided to check out Legend of Lu Zhen. This drama tells the journey of the first female prime minister of China. Lu Zhen, played by Zhanilia Zhao of Shan Shan Comes to eat, comes from a wealthy merchant family. However, her birth is of mysterious circumstances and she is heavily bullied by her stepmother who wants the family fortune. Luckily, her stepsister stands on her side and tries to help her out of difficult circumstances often.
Lu Zhen has a modern woman mentality where she doesn’t just want to be married, but prefers to pursue a career and she has the smart to accomplish that. However, due to her stepmother’s evil trap, she is accused of murdering her own father whom she loves deeply. While is able to escape being sold off as a concubine to an elderly neighbor, she accidents kills a man who tries to sexually assault her. She had asked the man to help her make a fake birth status certification, but the confrontation had turned ugly. Lu Zhen decides that she wants to enter the palace to avoid being arrested by the police, but was unable to stay there due to her fake certification being exposed.