K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Dumhdurum”

I love everything about this song — the music itself, of course, and also the MV. The colors, the lavish detail, the frowny-girl scowls, and even Naeun’s cornrows (speaking of appropriative). This is a really bold outing for Apink, as far as I’ve seen (having missed a few of their more recent evolutionary steps, namely “%%”). It pops. There’s a big synchronized hair whip in the choreography, and I think that’s the quintessence of the piece. It’s fast and fun — it’s a real jolt. And it’s lean, maintaining a consistent vibe throughout, rather than peaks and valleys. … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Dumhdurum”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Jelly”

I have mixed feelings about “Monster.” I know — who asked me, right? Who am I? Well, how about Seulgi’s number one fan? That’s right. Now don’t you look silly. It’s got a certain earworm quality, and it is growing on me, maybe more like a parasite than what I’m used to. Even before you see the video, the cynic in me feels like they’re playing it safe for the new subunit, double-dipping into that “Psycho” bucket. And look, I love “Psycho,” but it’s a belter. “Monster” is far more low-key, as if “sexy” necessarily comes at the expense of “energy.” With a growing understanding of other groups, the label that most characterizes Red Velvet to me — in music and personality — is weird. These girls are some of the weirdest people I’ve ever beheld, with that conversation in Vietnam about crushing crickets to feed to the baby chicken ripped straight out of A Scanner Darkly*. Undoubtedly, that’s part of the charm, and that’s what’s reflected in the eclectic music. … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Jelly”

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Into the New World”

My God, I’ve only been listening to this song since Friday and I already feel nostalgic about it. It’s just got that power, so I can’t imagine how it is for longtime Girls’ Generation fans who grew up with “Into the New World,” looking back at the full lives suggested in the video, now lived, through triumph and heartbreak (and probably less plane-flying, but given the nature of Korean variety shows, you never fucking know). … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “Into the New World”

Veronica Ngô Alert!: “The Old Guard” on Netflix

Longtime readers of this illustrious website will know that we here at With Eyes East are big fans of Veronica Ngô, star of Vietnam’s Furie and best known to most in America as “Rose’s dead sister” in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This July, she’ll make another small appearance in an American film while waiting for scripts to come together for further butt-kicking adventures. The Old Guard is a familiar-looking movie for all the right reasons: Charlize Theron reprises her role as Aeon Flux for this Highlander sequel, and Chiwetel Ejiofor also surfaces, because this is exactly the kind of movie he’d be in (not really, actually, I’m just reminded of Salt). … More Veronica Ngô Alert!: “The Old Guard” on Netflix

K-Drama Report: Man in the Kitchen (2017)

This writeup is destined to be a report card, something I’ll gladly refer back to once I’m more secure in my ability to assess Korean dramas — this is where it began. At the moment, I’ve had a spotty track record. The first drama I’ve watched to completion remains the only: Cheer Up!, which was my QNA pick for greatest entertainment experience of 2019. It’s a colorful, heartfelt melodrama that soars so high yet explores surprisingly wrenching emotional depths. Being used to the 13 or 24-episode counts of American TV shows, I was devastated to find Cheer Up! is 12 in total (and that was before I saw it ends in the middle). I’m currently watching Man in the Kitchen, and by episode three, a thought crossed my mind that draws the sharpest distinction between the two shows: “Okay, I understand why this is 50 episodes long.” It was not a good thought. … More K-Drama Report: Man in the Kitchen (2017)

K-Pop Pick of the Day: “The SOOTORY #3”

This day, our K-Pop Pick of the Day is a little different. Not a song, no. In fact, lately, I’ve been weighing which Girls’ Generation song to talk about here, and as a very newcomer, I’ve only got three favorites so far: “Girls’ Generation,” “Gee,” and “Hoot.” My number one is actually “Girls’ Generation,” which I can’t get out of my head. But as you may tell, that song is from the beginning of the group, and they are very much babies in the video (which looks like it was indeed filmed the year of their births, or perhaps on a videotape?). Half, or more than half, of my experience with K-pop so far is videos like this, glimpses into the idols’ non-stage personas (I hesitate, firmly, to say “the idols’ personalities,” because I’m trying very hard to not fall into parasocial traps). … More K-Pop Pick of the Day: “The SOOTORY #3”

That Infernal Departed

When The Departed won Best Picture for the year 2006, it assumed an unexpected place in American pop culture. Years later, another Leonardo DiCaprio movie was nominated, The Revenant, preventing its rightful destiny as a beloved cult classic, and not just because it feels like Ravenous. A movie cannot be underrated if it wins Best Picture, and you cannot be its champion, because it’s already got one. … More That Infernal Departed

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 Recap

So, I was really unsure about how to condense or even identify my feelings on the fourth season, because it was such an unexpected turn that it left me without much I could personally square. For the most part, it’s just beyond my critical ability, and I actually prefer that. That was my very first experience with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, back in season one, that this is a show speaking a new language; it’s a puzzle and suddenly so much of my energy is being directed toward solving it. And that’s where this YouTube channel comes from: pure excitement over something so novel and as I discovered, so deeply layered it rewarded analysis. I think that reward still waits for me on the other side of a true deep dive on the fourth season, but it just hasn’t been enough time for me, and I’m more than happy to linger in this space where it remains mysterious and kind of baffling in both good and bad ways. To be honest, this season was frustrating as it was surprising, maintaining everything that made past Crazy Ex-Girlfriend so wonderful except, in my opinion, for one thing: a strong sense of direction. … More Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 Recap

Paula With a Thousand Faces | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Analysis

If Greg sometimes felt like the alternate protagonist of season one, Paula is the stealth alternate protagonist, and that’s all-too appropriate given that her arc is about emergence and actualization, and a womanhood many people experience and embody. Of the many spotlights shone by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this one may be the most unexpected, and overdue. … More Paula With a Thousand Faces | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Analysis