These are my obsessions: K-dramas

 

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My addiction/ love of K-dramas came after watching my first good one. I say this because the first actual one I watched (Jealousy Incarnate) didn’t really grab my interest so I thought nothing much of it. With each episode in that series being over an hour long and barely keeping up with the subtitle pace, it definitely wasn’t love at first sight. That changed when I sat down with my uni housemates one night to watch the drama ‘Cheese in The Trap’. Thinking back to then, it wasn’t the greatest drama I’ve watched but I was firstly, amused by the name and secondly, as I continued to watch the drama in love with the protagonist’s relatable awkwardness.

It escalated pretty fast after that. I mainly watch crime and romance shows and although I feel South Korea does them best I have watched a few from China and Taiwan. For me one thing I do love about K-drama’s is they are free from most of the Western clichés you see (particularly in American dramas). However, they still have clichés of their own. Basic things I have observed:

  • Fate, loyalty and friendship are big themes you will find in some shape or form in each drama. For instance, in a few romance dramas the main characters have unknowingly met in their past as if to imply they were destined to be together. Exhibit A: the show Cinderella and Four Knights.
  • K-dramas can be a bit more conservative when it comes to romance; this probably partly because TV is more closely censored than film (which is another ball game- you only need to watch one to realise.)
  • Female characters can be marmite. My likability for show does strongly depend on the depictions of females within it. Females that are always damsels in distress or highly emotional slowly annoy you; although I’ll make an exception for The K2.
  • No-one is ever as they seem in a good K-drama. Even the ones you come to hate/love have a backstory or change sides due to events within the drama. This adds a layer of realism to the dramas as they seek to portray the complexity of individuals; humans are complicated things after all.

 

A lot of K-pop singers dabble in acting also but this is something you’re unlikely to realise unless you research the dramas and actors like me. (I’m weird like that.) I also like watching behind the scenes footage and cast interviews since they can be pretty funny. For those that want to test run a series; I will be posting some of my recommendations up soon 😉 I also have another obsession I will be revealing in a part (2).

Have a good weekend.

La La Land-an honest review

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This film swept the floor at the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, Golden Globes AND the Academy Awards (Oscars). Naturally, I therefore had high expectations. For those yet to see it, I’ve decided to do an honest breakdown of what I thought.

La La Land stars Ryan Gosling (Sebastian) and Emma Stone (Mia), who have in the past starred together in the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid Love. The banter between these two characters made me smile throughout. Although, I’ve only really seen Gosling play reserved characters, Stone seemed in her zone with her character Mia who is goofy, passionate and dreamy. The scene where she is dancing to the music Gosling’s jazz ensemble is playing, was a great highlight.

Of course, this is a musical so it wouldn’t make sense for me to review it w/o mentioning how I felt about the vocals and soundtrack. Emma and Ryan don’t have the most exceptional voices in the world but I felt this made it sincere and translated the emotion much better. For soundtracks buffs I would recommend ‘City of Stars’ by Gosling and Stone and ‘The Fools who dream’ by Stone.

Throughout the film bright vivid colours flood the senses, mixed with nice American scenery. This gives a fantasy element to it all- a feeling sealed by the repeated scene of the two main characters dancing along a star studded background. This is certainly a film built for aesthetics and that ‘feel good’ factor- there (to me) isn’t any hidden or embedded meaning we should be looking for. I state this specifically because before watching the film I did read a review talking about the White erasure of Jazz’s black history. Watching it now, I disagree simply because I take La La Land to be a surface level film. It wasn’t trying to enact history and therefore does not need to carry the burden of historical accuracy.

Personally, I saw the film as a fight between reality and dreams, with Mia and Sebastian’s relationship on the border of the two. Mia tries throughout the film to reconcile her dreams with reality in terms of her relationship with Sebastian and her theatrical dreams. In contrast, Sebastian puts his dreams on hold when reality calls.

Overall, this film certainly makes an enjoyable watch; I would say 4.8/5. My only criticism would be that there could have been a clearer direction for the film in terms of plot. I can’t even say the plot’s quality is sacrificed for character development because I didn’t see huge character transformation (of even Mia or Seb) within the film. I mean, yes, their circumstances definitely do change by the end but whether they themselves do is not really known. Nevertheless, despite the deliberate uncertainty at the end you can leave the cinema feeling satisfied; which is all that matters in the end, right?

*Picture from: http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/synopsis/la_la_land/f5293 *