Pluto: Rabbit Hunting

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Pluto is a movie about the academic pressure of getting into a SKY university in Korea. At this particular school, such cutthroat competition is created that it begins to turn young adults into budding psychopaths. It is a deeply dark and disturbing movie to which young adults who watched it ended up connecting with it on a basic level. The drama tells the story through the eyes of June, who is a recent transfer and genius in science. He is particularly interested in astronomy and has written a thesis on why Pluto, an outlier, should be a planet in the solar system.Even though he was in the top 1% of his last school, he is in the lower end of the class in his new school. Often he is envious of the top 10 students in his grade and how they have special privileges and classes. They pass around a notebook that seems to help improve their grades. June wants to be in this special club and Yujin, the leader of the club says he has to perform special missions in order to be one of them. They call this process Rabbit Hunting. Rabbit Hunting, at first, seems like your general high school bullying, but it has a more sinister aura to it. The missions become more dangerous, bordering on assault and sexual harassment. While Yujin tries to regulate the missions to his best ability due to his past guilt, it is the second in command who enjoys such pleasures. Unfortunately, June participates in these missions just so he can improve his grades and ranking. However, as he is engrossed in such activities, he develops characteristics of a psychopath himself. The turning point comes when Yujin becomes the victim of one of their plots and is murdered by the club. The club members try to blame it on June. June is jolted back into moral reality and ends up trying to bring justice to the group members. As the group members have rich and powerful parents, he thinks that the law force will be of no use. Thus he is taking this into his own hands and forcing the members to perform the missions that he did before. He blackmails them and threatens their life with homemade bombs (that they had originally made him concoct for a mission). On the day of the solar eclipse is when everything comes to a head and June will smite the club with his hand of justice.

I definitely enjoy psychological thrillers and this movie had a White Christmas aura about it. Are monsters born or molded by society? Clearly, the intense academic pressure has twisted these young adults so much that they are willing to do anything to beat out the other person. Yujin played by Sung Joon is the ultimate broody leader who develops somewhat of a conscious after a previous tragedy caused by the club. Sung Joon does dark and brood very well, taking his White Christmas character to the next level. Meanwhile June’s transformation is definitely interesting and frightening to watch as he goes from the timid meek boy to bringing of justice. Pluto is definitely a movie that tries to bring into focus the tribulations of young adults.

Madame Antoine: Fortunes Told

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An interesting fortune is being told here! Madame Antoine is about the bickering of a fortune teller versus a renowned psychologist. Han Ye Seul plays Hye Rim, a fortune teller who has a knack for being observant and being a good guesser. Often she is described as conning people, but in reality she is just handing out life advice. Meanwhile, Sung Joon plays Soo Hyun, a psychologist who doesn’t have any morals when it comes to his experiments. He is focused on the female psyche and especially does not believe in love. In fact, the drama is based on an experiment he is conducting. His hypothesis is that most women will choose a man who gives them financial stability and that true love does not exist. However, even with his first pilot study, he is unscrupulous and plays with other people’s feelings. After moving into the center above the cafe, these two butt heads as each derides the other for their work. Thus, in a form of revenge Soo Hyun decides to apply this experiment again, but using Hye Rim as the subject. He sets three men of varying characteristics upon her. One is his own genius protege, Ji Ho, to be the young flower boy type. The second is his younger athlete brother, Seung Chan, as the one who has a sexy body. He plays the third guy, a rich man in the mid-thirties. Each pushes their “fake” feelings onto her and tries to make her fall in love with them. However, as time goes by, each man develops their own true feelings for her. Most importantly, Soo Hyun, himself begins to have feelings for her. Now he is in a rocky spot of pulling out of the experiment, revealing what he has done, or setting up a new third man. Of course, when this experiment falls apart, Hye Rim will definitely be very hurt. Will they be able to rekindle or forgive?

This is an interesting concept, if unscrupulous. It is always horrible to play with another person’s feelings for the sake of an experiment, in my opinion. However, for now, the drama has enough of comedic element to level this distaste in my mouth. Hopefully,there will be some heavy groveling from Soo Hyun for doing such a thing. I very much enjoy Han Ye Seul’s acting here which is has been a hit or miss in the past with her other other projects. She is funny and endearing. I absolutely love the parts where she pretends to talk to Madame Antoine’s ghost while reading a fortune, but is really just saying nonsensical phrases in French since no one understands. Meanwhile, Sung Joon’s facial tics are hilarious. I am so used to seeing him in sulky brooding roles, but I think comedy is really his element here. While the other flower boys are cute, I do wish they were given more of a background or depth rather than the stereotypical roles, literally, that they are forced into. Other than that, Madame Antoine is a quirky fun drama to watch in between my other obsessions.

High Society: Low Happiness

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There is a certain rawness in High Society that caught my eye within just the first episode. While High Society may sound like your run of the mill “life of the rich is actually hard, blah blah blah”, there is more to it than meets the eye. I am in it more for our two main character’s development arc. There is no happy Candy nor traumatized chaebol here. Instead, Yoon Ha is our main lady and she is the youngest daughter of a rich conglomerate. However, in her home she is repressed by her mother and bullied by her numerous siblings. Her mother noticeably pushes her down all the time and only forces her to get married so that Yoon Ha can leave the household. Meanwhile, Yoon Ha tries to break out of the pampered aghassi mode and gets a part-time job at a super-market.

There she makes a good friend named Lee Yi Ji, who is a Candy type where she is poor, happy, and hardworking. Yi Ji has her eyes set on handsome and hardworking Joon Ki, who is a deputy of the supermarket for a business conglomerate. Joon Ki is born to a poor social status and yearns to marry up or gain more power in the company. He hates being looked down upon for his family background and is noticeably annoyed when his richer friend says untactful comments at times. His friend, Chang Soo, is the younger son of a conglomerate who also yearns to make a name in his own company and rise above his older brother. However, he doesn’t do the work himself and always has Joon Ki solve his problems since he is more capable. Because of Chang Soo’s birthright, he unwittingly treats Joon Ki like his minion rather than as an equal. This bromance has a potential of going sideways for sure.

Chang Soo meets Yoon Ha in a blind date meeting set up by their parents, which goes awry as Yoon Ha tries to get out of the set up. It was at this place that Joon Ki first saw Yoon Ha and was interested. Yoon Ha had went in looking like rockstar to put off Chang Soo, and came back out clean and chastised after Chang Soo dumped water all over her head. Chang Soo hates being used and reported mean things about Yoon Ha back to his mother. After being scolded and hit at home by her mother, Yoon Ha decides to meet up with Yi Ji for comfort. She meets Joon Ki for a third time as she sees Yi Ji follow Joon Ki out of the supermarket after work. They say that if you meet a person three times coincidentally, it is fate. In Joon Ki’s mind, he doesn’t believe in fate, but “chooses” to pursue a possible interest in her.

For me I enjoy the innocence of Yoon Ha and look forward to seeing her develop more or fend for herself without relying on her birthright. She has an independent streak and I want to see what she does with it instead of being brutally suppressed by her mother. Played by UEE of After School, she has developed a lot in her acting role from her debut in Your Beautiful. While I hated her there, I really enjoy her portrayal here. As for Joon Ki, he is not your usual nice guy or rich guy. He has high ambitions and wants to climb the social ladder no matter what. He is the person who will leave you cold and hanging if it suits his goals. You can already tell he has something against the rich with their arrogant attitude. He has the perfect combination of utter coldness as well as inner warmth which is shown through Sung Joon’s versatile acting. Having seen most of his roles, he is a very capable actor who is very expressive with his face, especially his eyes. Now with Yoon Ha hiding her rich family and pretending to be poor, we can see how Joon Ki may be in conflict with himself as he aims to marry into a rich family. Will he compromise his ambitions for a love with a seemingly “average” girl? Will he just use her to achieve his goals? Will Yoon Ha be able to be with a guy she loves that is not of her status? I know she would not mind as she wishes to marry for love, but her family is her greatest obstacle. She wants to throw them away, while Joon Ki needs them. As for Yi Ji and Chang Soo, they will probably end up together later on as they are the two extremes left as our main develop their romance.

-phoenix

A Peek Into DID: Kill Me Heal Me vs. Hyde, Jekyll, Me

Here is two for one deal! I have officially completed Kill Me Heal Me and dropped Hyde, Jekyll, Me like it’s hot (stopped at ep.14). Kill Me Heal Me touched my heart in so many ways and I have never replayed so many parts of a drama. Meanwhile, while I love Hyun Bin and tolerate Han Ji-Min, I can no longer force myself to watch it.

KMHM Plot: I can definitely say, the right plot really breaks or makes a drama, especially if you have a similar airing drama to compare it to. What KMHM has is a touching and very tightly spun storyline following a pair of children from their tragic pass to how this affects them in the future. Add in exciting and unexpected twists is just the cherry on top which kept my yearning for the next set of episodes each week. Much of the time you are kept guessing at what really happened which is the point since the main character didn’t even know himself the true story of his past and could only assume at first what had occurred. The drama is literally about different perspectives and how just one act can be interpreted in so many ways, many facets just like Do Hyun himself. Even the ending was perfect and cathartic, a truly healing completion to a emotional roller coaster for the viewers and Do Hyun himself.

HJM Plot: Everything since pretty, fluffy, and dream like in the beginning which seriously drew me in. However, the drama is like a broken carousel (forgive my circus metaphors!). It spins colorfully in the beginning, but has no substance and soon you hear the slowed down and warped music as it comes to a complete stop. The premise sounded interesting as I was already watching the other DID drama, and I wanted to see another take on it, with fewer personality. While the DID Seo Jin backstory was fine including the tragic past with his friendenemy, the rest was really flimsy. First of all, the cops are SO INADEQUATE, loosing the villain a billion times with their ineptitude. Seriously, it bordered on farcical how stupid they were and how this was suppose to keep Tae Joo in play to add a somewhat interesting item to the plot. All the romance moving plot was really not and much like a parody instead of a romcom. Basically, a carousel that goes round and round and round when you wish it would just let you off and finish at ep16.

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