My Wife is a Gangster 3

There’s a tropey thing in movies where the badass hero guy goes big-league, demonstrating killer skills outside his usual environment. Maybe it’s Ray Liotta pistol-whipping the guy in Goodfellas, or Jason Statham beating up the basketball court in The Expendables. We know they deal with bigger threats, so this one’s just for fun — applied badass. I went looking through the Goodfellas listing on TV Tropes and didn’t find anything, though the scene is considered, among others, an example of their trope “All Girls Want Bad Boys.” True enough, in both cases, the badass application makes audience of a woman (“I gotta admit, It turned me on,” says Karen Hill). … More My Wife is a Gangster 3

Search: WWW | Recommended Korean Drama

“Give me Cha Hyeon,” Ga-kyeong says, and as the scene whips between reaction shots and the music swells, I’m bouncing the iPad on my knees, making a positively indescribable noise. Search: WWW often shocked me like this, inducing so much excitement and even dread, then clocking me square in the stupid grin. It was urgent somehow, to even process my experience with it — but I couldn’t. Perhaps it left me feeling so much that my thoughts were annihilated. I’d like to recommend it, but where do I even start? … More Search: WWW | Recommended Korean Drama

06/12/2021 – “We’ve Found Ourselves in a Village, a Resident Evil Village”

Resident Evil is a great stress test for my unified transmedia theory! That’s redundant, but I’d like to emphasize my concern here. In any given entry in the long-running zombie series, you’ll see inappropriate martial arts, superpowers, pretty boys, meme-making dialogue, boulder-punching, and a bestiary of such zoological scope it’s breathtaking. In that regard, it’s far closer to Pokémon than most movies of its ilk and their galdern, premature satisfaction with the simple zombo. So much to say, Resident Evil is weird. … More 06/12/2021 – “We’ve Found Ourselves in a Village, a Resident Evil Village”

Lee Da-hee: Dichotomy

I promise not to make this a regular feature, especially since it’s rare anyway. It’s something I’ve always liked about actors, when an already compelling turn is underscored by just how opposite the performer seems to be in reality. It’s a strange thing to write about, but the actress Lee Da-hee represents an extraordinary case. … More Lee Da-hee: Dichotomy

K-Drama Report: The Beauty Inside (2018)

Yes, I cried. Happy? I am, because it’s been a while. The story as old as this website is my search for another K-drama as affecting to me as the first I saw, Cheer Up! (Sassy Go Go). Last year, I thought it might be Something in the Rain, with superstar Son Ye-jin, a relatively straightforward romance where the twist is that the woman is older than the man by maybe six years. Scandalous! Granted, it was further complicated by the man being a family friend, so to Son’s mother, it was like her two children were hooking up and she did not take that well. Also, it is kind of scandalous, damn it, and would be even in the States. Also, if the woman is taller, but I do go on. Could go on. I’ve seen ten episodes, but a few episodes back, my view rate slipped from days to weeks to months. It was so disheartening because I loved the show from premise on, and I really liked the central couple, as well as Son’s long-suffering friend. The problem was a fatal, repetitive subplot involving sexual harassment, which felt so tertiary to the main plot and certainly prickled me with sensitive subject matter. … More K-Drama Report: The Beauty Inside (2018)

5/23/2021 – Election vs. Outrage

I just saw the Johnnie To movie Election, and I was struck by its depiction of violence. There isn’t the usual staging around murders which typifies gangster movie structure. And the murders or beatings themselves aren’t gory or operatic. The contrary example I may as well be describing here is Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage trilogy, which I find interesting for being pure genre exercises. They’re very matter-of-fact, pretty low-energy, almost procedural yakuza dramas. The first Outrage was actually designed around the murder scenes, and throughout the series, they’re pretty extravagant. There’s death by baseball, horizontal hanging via car, mass shootings, explosions. It’s all over the place. And it’s all done with the expected style: black suits, shades, pistols, dignity. … More 5/23/2021 – Election vs. Outrage

Seulgi: Dichotomy

There’s just something about Seulgi. She is, to me, the first K-pop idol — the one who first fascinated, with her bonkers off-stage persona and friendly, appealing demeanor. These, of course, are surface details, so what struck me with time was not only her deeper talents, but how much those talents clashed with the surface details. This is a bubbly idol girl and a woman who communicated to me that dance is an artform. You watch any given Red Velvet music video or see her on stage touring the world, and she’s so fierce and confident, and the second she steps off that stage she becomes clumsy, bubbly “Ddeulgi,” as the fans have called her. It’s something that still fascinates me, and I’d like to attempt to replicate it here, in images. … More Seulgi: Dichotomy

05/16/2021 – Wonderful Days

The last few posts here have been fluff, and that feels especially callous as so much tragedy is happening in the Asian world — Palestine, Myanmar, India, so many more. I’ll hopefully get back to more important business soon, but for now, I just want to record some recent thoughts. First up, I rewatched the original A Better Tomorrow on Friday in anticipation of a future QNA episode about the sequel. I hadn’t remembered much of the first, just that it isn’t as actiony as Woo’s other big movies, and that Chow Yun-Fat surprisingly dies at the end. Watching it this time, I was blown away. … More 05/16/2021 – Wonderful Days

The Best Red Velvet Album?

This is a tough one. For me, Red Velvet has an almost spotless discography, a blunting effect on my critical thinking, because it’s always “Wow, this song is amazing,” and “Wow, this song is amazing.” Not only that, I haven’t thought about them in terms of albums, unlike other musical acts. Best Paramore album? Easy. Pound for pound, it’s Brand New Eyes. I think it’s just the time in my life I experienced these groups. As a kid, I was getting into music (late) while CDs were being phased out for MP3s, but I still had CDs, and I’m still burning CDs today because the aux jack in my car doesn’t work anymore. I only started listening to Red Velvet in 2019, and I use Apple Music, so from my perspective, Red Velvet is just a mass of songs which I discovered bit by bit and sorted into various playlists. This had the strange consequence of “headcanon,” where songs with no real relation to one another have a strong connection in my mind, like the sequence of “Ice Cream Cake,” “Russian Roulette,” and “Peek-a-Boo.” For whatever reason, that’s how that trilogy goes, despite that “Peek-a-Boo” predates “Russian Roulette.” … More The Best Red Velvet Album?