The last member of Blackpink, Jisoo, is finally letting the world meet her solo project. She dropped her first ever solo album today (31 Mar).
And that must have came with a good amount of pressure.
Afterall, her bandmates Jennie, Rosé and Lisa have made successful debuts previously with tracks that fit them to a T.
For the 28 year-old vocalist, her first solo album is titled “Me”. Fair enough, since it’s her first solo drop, the album should be all about herself anyways.
And it seems like Blackpink members prefer simplicity when it comes to their solo ventures. Case in point: rapper Lisa’s first single was named after herself, Lalisa (2021), and Jennie’s solo track was titled Solo (2018).
Her first solo album contains a total of two tracks – namely Flower and All Eyes on Me. The former served as the title number.
Unlike most of Blackpink’s tracks, Flower is lighter on its backing instruments. And it is mainly fuelled by periodic finger snaps.
This might perhaps be a deliberate move to put more focus on Jisoo’s vocals while she sings about her heartbreak, where there is “nothing left but a scent of a flower”.
“Crimsonly burned down you and I / I’m okay, would you be as well,” she sings. Jisoo is successful in bringing out the despair the track requires, unlike her usual cheery self we mostly see.
Unfortunately, Flower isn’t particularly addictive per se, especially on the first listen.
But if its aim is to showcase Jisoo’s wide vocal range and the way she delivers the track to the audience, then it has well achieved its goal.
Her b-side, All Eyes on Me, is a little more flirtatious in nature. After all, if she’s making her long-awaited debut, all eyes should be on her.
“Make me feel alive / Don’t fill it up with meaningless words / Focus on me now / So that I can know your mysterious heart,” she sings.
Something surprising to note though – the chorus doesn’t pack much vocals.
Instead, it is filled up with a dance break to offer a refreshing change since the vocalist has been casting spotlight on her vocals throughout the album.
Crash Course in Romance tells the unlikely love story between Choi Chi-yeol, played by Jung Kyung-ho and Nam Haeng-son, portrayed by Jeon Do-yeon.
Choi is a high-flying, celebrity Maths tutor while Nam is the ladyboss of an unassuming neighbourhood banchan shop which Choi can’t seem to get enough of.
This 16-episode rom-com derails from the usual cookiecutter template of having both leads falling in love at first sight.
Instead, it shows a much more mature and somewhat complex love-line between the leads, and how their relationship changed and eventually blossomed throughout the series.
Education in South Korea
The story is based on the ever contentious topic of Korea’s education system and the culture of private education or, hagwon, in the country. It has since expanded into a multi-billion dollar industry, with some of the more popular tutors achieving an idol-like status with their faces plastered across the streets in Gangnam.
Choi is one of such examples and is nicknamed the “one-trillion-won-man” for the economic value which he generates for the country. This is an interesting phenomenon for non-Korean viewers.
Probability of love
Through the series, the casting of Jung Kyung-ho and Jeon Do-yeon has been met with mixed responses.
Some applaud their chemistry. Others bemoan the 10-year age gap between the leads, which proved to be awkward especially in the later half of the show.
The show does lose some of its initial charm as the story progresses, moving away from its funnier, light-hearted scenes in the earlier episodes.
Even with the critics aloud, it didn’t seem to matter much to the Korean audience, as the show definitely scored an A in terms of ratings, becoming one of the Top 10 most-watched series on Korean cable TV.
What’s memorable about the show is definitely the countless number of quotes about life and society which left me thinking.
Maths might not have been one of my most outstanding subjects in school back then.
But I have definitely learnt quite a bit from this Crash Course in Romance, providing a little revision that there are many variables in life. Some of which are outside of our control, but there are also others which are worth fighting for.
“Maths is black and white. There’s always an answer. But (my) life isn’t like that. There are no set formulas or rules.”
j-hope IN THE BOX is a highly anticipated documentary that provides an in-depth look into the life of j-hope, a member of the world-famous K-Pop group, BTS. The documentary was recently released on Disney+, and it has already created a buzz among fans of the group.
j-hope whose real name is Jung Ho-seok, is one of the most beloved members of BTS, known for his energetic and charismatic personality, as well as his musical talent. He is a rapper, dancer, and producer, and has played a significant role in the group’s success.
The episode opens with the star sitting in a small, enclosed space, reflecting on his past and his childhood dreams. He talks about his passion for music and dance, and how he always knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Despite facing many challenges along the way, j-hope never gave up on his dreams and worked tirelessly to improve himself and reach his goals.
The special documentary focuses on j-hope’s studio album “Jack In The Box” which was released in 2022, providing behind-the-scenes footage of the global star as he prepares for the release of the album and gives fans a glimpse into his creative process.
Throughout the episode, fans are treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of j-hope’s life, including his preparation for concerts and performances, his interactions with the other members of BTS, and his personal interests and hobbies.
Another highlight of the documentary is j-hope’s performance of his solo debut on the stage of Lollapalooza. The performance is a testament to j-hope’s incredible talent and the hard work that he has put into his music. Fans are sure to be blown away by his energetic performance and the powerful message behind the song.
One of the most touching moments of the episode is when j-hope visits his childhood home and reflects on his life so far. He talks about how far he has come and how grateful he is for the love and support of his fans.
Another important aspect of the episode is the star-studded party to promote his first solo album “Jack In The Box”. Celebrities such as all members of BTS, BIGBANG’s Tae-yang, ASTRO’s Cha Eun-woo, Sunmi, Jessi, as well as other popular musicians and actors, were in attendance and participated in the celebrations. The atmosphere was electric as celebrities alike gathered to celebrate j-hope’s musical talent and support his new album.
The party was a visual feast, with colorful lights, stunning performances, and lively music filling the room. Throughout the night, j-hope was in high spirits, interacting with all guests and performing some of his most popular tracks. The crowd was in awe as he took the stage, displaying his undeniable charisma and talent.
In conclusion, the documentary is a testament to j-hope’s unwavering spirit and his commitment to his art, and it provides a glimpse into the personal and professional journey of one of the most talented musicians of our time. Now streaming on Disney+, j-hope IN THE BOX is a must-watch for all BTS fans and anyone interested in the world of K-pop.
It’s the end of 2022, which means it’s a good time to do a short review of all the K-beauty products I’ve tried this year. I didn’t try many products as I am trying to be more conscious with my purchases. Overall, I’m quite satisfied with my purchases especially since I bought all of these when they were on sale. Read on to find out what I think about these products!
COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad, $22.90
Each tub of this contains 70 cotton pads pre-soaked in essence to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum. This can be used wipe off excess dirt on the face, and has an embossed side that helps with exfoliating. Key ingredients include willow bark water, BHA and tea tree oil. I personally really like this product and have already repurchased another tub! This is extremely gentle on the skin as it only contains 1% BHA, so it’s great for those with sensitive skin. Other than using the pads on my face, I also use them on my back to keep back acne at bay.
Available online on Shopee and Watsons, and at Watsons retail stores.
beplain Clean Ocean Moisture Sunscreen, $39
The beplain Clean Ocean Moisture Sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen and has a PA index of PA++++ and SPF index of SPF 50+, offering high protection. This particular sunscreen is targeted at those with dry or combination skin, while the brand’s other Clean Ocean Nonnano Mild Suncreen is targeted at those with oily skin. I like how sheer the Clean Ocean Moisture Sunscreen is, leaving no white cast. It’s also lightweight and has a moisturising texture as claimed.
I have been using LANEIGE’s cushions for a long time and I loved one of their past (now discontinued) cushions, so it was a no-brainer for me to get this. The NEO Cushion Matte delivers a matte finish and it claims to be transfer-proof with full, concealer-like coverage. Having used this for some time, I felt that it still does transfer a bit under our Singapore weather. I would also say it offers medium coverage rather than full coverage. Overall, I still like this cushion as it’s lightweight, offers a decent amount of coverage and transfers minimally. However, if you have dry skin, make sure to moisturise well before applying this as I find that it can get patchy and cling onto dry parts of the face.
hince Mood Enhancer Water Liquid Glow in W001 New Allure, $34
The hince Mood Enhancer Water Liquid Glow is a new liquid lip product launched earlier this year, and I got mine in the shade New Allure. As its name suggests, this lip product has a somewhat watery feeling to it upon application and this helps the product glide on easily. It’s also lightweight and comfortable on the lips. As for how it looks on the lips, it is fairly pigmented and provides a nice natural shine to the lips.
If thriller and action is your favorite genre, Big Mouth will give you a blast! Big Mouth, a 16-episode drama written by Ha Ram and directed by Oh Choong-Hwan revolves around Park Chang Ho (played by our very own Lee Jong Suk) who is an unfortunate lawyer with a minimum win rate.
Director Oh Choong Hwan has directed the highest ranking and hit dramas like Doctors, Start-up, Hotel Del Luna, While You Were Sleeping, and others. Therefore fans are ready with their popcorns, eyes on the screen with a pounding heart to witness the premiere of another hit thriller drama on July 29, 2022.
Park Chang Ho is a very talkative person with only 10% winning rate. Being outspoken earns him the title of ‘Big Mouth’ which is considered rather negative. He takes a risky and high-profile case only to earn more negative views on his name, and is thereby staged as an extraordinary conman ‘Big Mouse’. This high-profile murder case eventually leads him to prison and even becomes a danger to his life making him a suspect in the murder.
In these critical situations, his nurse wife, Go Mi Ho played by Lim Yoona, backs her husband and is determined to get him out of the unwanted situation and remove the title ‘Big Mouth’ from his name. She has always helped and supported her husband both morally and financially.
Fans are wondering and waiting impatiently to know whether the couple can clean their name or not. And if successful, what would be the consequences.
In prison, Park Chang Ho survives between life and death while his wife searches for the truth behind the murder case of elite people to get her husband out of the prison. Her dialogue “we Believe and hold on” shows the brave and persistent side of Go Mi Ho.
Hallyu wave has got a grip on fans and so has Big Mouth through its goosebumps-causing trailer with its flattering cinematography, on-point acting, and capturing sound effects.
The short thriller clips have increased the enthusiasm of fans waiting for the premiere and waiting anymore is becoming unbearable! The sudden revelation of the possible plot twist generating quick dialogues of characters in the trailers has bombarded viewers’ minds with hundreds of questions to be answered.
The drama is all set to run every Friday and Saturday, and will be available to stream via Disney+ from July 29, 2022. It will take the slot of the recently concluded drama, Doctor Lawyer, which can also be streamed on Disney+. Big Mouth also stars a solid line-up of cast, including Kim Joo-hun, Ok Ja-yeon, Yang Kyung-won, Kwak Dong-yeon, and more.
From Attorney Woo to Big Mouth, this year seems to be a year of Judicial dramas. Will Park Chang Ho survive prison? Will he come out clean? Is he really a Big Mouth? Will Go Mi Ho succeed in finding the ‘truth’ she promised? Will Park Chang Ho be applauded for staying strong and persisting? How will this story turn and twist?
All these questions are keeping the viewers waiting for the next episode of ‘Big Mouth’. Have you ever been this excited about any drama?
The highly anticipated Korean version of La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) was finally released last month and viewers cannot help but gasp for breath by the end of each episode. The phenomenal plot twists, suspense, and sudden turns compel us to gnaw at our nails from time to time throughout the show. Its continuous grip on the audience is applaudable!
Directed by Kim Hong-sun, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area features a formidable cast who play the iconic characters from the original series: Professor (Yoo Ji-tae), Berlin (Park Hae-soo), Tokyo (Jun Jong-seo), Moscow (Lee Won-jong), Denver (Kim Ji-hun), Nairobi (Jang Yoon-ju), Rio (Lee Hyun-woo), Helsinki (Kim Ji-hoon), and Oslo (Lee Kyu-ho).
The plot is set in the near future that predicts the unification of the known rivals, North and South Korea. In the time the plot is set, the border that is used to separate both nations is used as an area for joint Economic Development. The area, known as Mint, produces joint currency applicable in both nations. The unification also opens up opportunities for people to travel across the nations and enjoy each other’s products. Tokyo takes the opportunity and leaves for Seoul without a second thought but what awaits her in Seoul was not what she had expected.
Tokyo, a former North Korean soldier, reaching Seoul realized what she has stepped into and started working part-time but soon starts robbing and killing loan sharks and other small-scale criminals until her name gets highlighted in the news. This is where “The Professor” jumps in.
The “Professor” as in the original series, gathers and trains a group of eight financially deprived but highly skilled criminals in their respective fields to carry out the largest heist in the history of Korea at the joint economic National Mint. They plan, as the professor explains, not to rob but to produce their part of the economy by printing 4 trillion Won and distributing that among themselves. This is what they claim, is a justifiable act for betterment.
No-kill, no harm, just print, and out! This is their plan but the unexpected situations created, one after the other make Professor alter their heist plans throughout the story according to the situation.
From the selection of their symbolic ‘names’ to the planning and execution, although partial, of the plan, the show has a hold on the audience and knows how to engage them and make them binge-watch the entire show. Filled with suspense, a tint of humor and spices of action sprinkled on the plot make the series highly engaging and captivating. Along with all these spells it casts on the viewers, it also succeeds to highlight the possible economic issues a common man would face and how “rich getting richer and poor getting poorer” remains the same.
What makes the Korean version special is the addition of Korean spices to the show. “Hahoe” masks replacing the symbolic “Dali” masks is an example of the Korean pinch to the show. From the character of Professor, and Berlin, to Tokyo, the versatile cast nailed the characters and the back story of each character that compelled them to get involved in the heist creates a bitter-sweet bond between the viewer and characters. The hero-villain characteristic combination of the characters makes viewers love and despise the characters at the same time while enjoying the show with popcorn in hand and sitting in the same place for hours without moving.
Our verdict? A true masterpiece that met the expectations of a highly anticipated Korean remake is a must-watch. No doubt, it got in the group of most-watched Korean shows. The cliffhanger at the end of season one has already made viewers impatient for season two to arrive. Watch season one on Netflix and join the club to wait for S2!
Self-photo studios are all the rage in South Korea, with celebrities such as DIA’s Chaeyeon, IZ*ONE’s Minju and Lovelyz’s Yein and Jisoo patronising these studios to have their photos taken. Think of these studios as self-service photo studios, where you’re in control of the photos taken. All you need is a shutter clicker which you can click away and take as many photos as you want — perfect for those who are camera shy or feel awkward taking pictures in the presence of a stranger.
Last month, Fotomat Studios brought the self-photo studio concept to Singapore. Over at Singapore’s first black and white self-photo studio, enjoy a self-photography session where you can comfortably take photos without the help of a photographer. All professional equipment is provided by the studio, and customers will be given a shutter clicker to take their own photos during the session.
At $30 for two pax, each session lasts for 15 minutes (comparable to the self-photo studios in South Korea) and gives you an unlimited number of shots. The price also includes two printed photos of your choice. For an additional $30, you can also purchase all the original files in soft copy.
Experience this one-in-a-kind photoshoot experience with your loved ones here in Singapore at Fotomat Studios and have fun clicking away! Do note that Fotomat Studios releases slots weekly, and you have to make a book a slot in advance before heading down.
Location and Opening Hours:
3F, 155 Waterloo St, Stamford Arts Centre, S187962
Monday – Sunday, 11AM to 9PM
No walk-ins allowed, by reservation only.
For more information, visit https://fotomatstudios.com/.
Another year has gone by and it’s time for another mini review of all the K-beauty products I’ve bought and tried for myself this year! In a bid to save while shopping, I bought all of these products during sales periods on official platforms such as Shopee and Guardian. As with all things, your experience with these products may vary from mine. Read on to know my thoughts about these products!
Cell Fusion C Clear Sunscreen 100 Twin Pack, $44.90
I recently learnt about the Cell Fusion C brand when I was looking for a new sunscreen to try. As I’ve acne-prone skin, I got the Clear Sunscreen as it seemed to be the most suitable for my skin type. This is a tinted sunscreen so it’s great for lazy days, but it will only work on those with fair to light skin. I had high hopes for this sunscreen but was left feeling slightly disappointed. Wearing this sunscreen on my face (with no other makeup on) seemed to make my face look even oilier throughout the day even though this is supposedly suitable for those with oily skin, so this is a miss for me.
I’ve seen the CLIO Pro Layering Eye Palettes all over Instagram for quite some time now and the immense popularity of these palettes has led the brand to expand its offerings, adding more variations of these palettes. The one in 02 Brown Choux makes for a good daily palette and I really like the colour combination. The glitters and shimmers are also pretty and pigmented! As the shades were warmer than expected, this is a palette that’s more suitable for those who enjoy using warm eyeshadows.
After seeing Korean makeup artist Pony use this product in one of her videos last year, I’ve been meaning to get my hands on this product for a while. I like this product and find that it works well for a natural-looking, subtle shading effect. It’s also quite affordable so that’s a huge plus!
It’s my first time trying anything mugwort and this was a pleasant surprise. It’s no wonder there are so many great reviews of this online. It has a very lightweight, watery consistency with a slight herbal smell. This did help soothe my skin and reduce the redness on my face. I love this and it’s definitely worth a repurchase!
Rom&nd Better Than Cheek in 03 Blueberry Chip, $18.90
This blush is extremely small and compact, about the size of my palm. It’s very affordable during sales period (I got mine at $11.90 from the official Virvici store on Shopee) and with its compact size, you can easily hit pan on this small-sized blush. The downside is it’s not very pigmented and there’s quite some fallout when picking up the product with a brush.
When it comes to tofu stews in Singapore, there’s no place that does it better than SBCD Korean Tofu House. As fans of the brand since its inception, we were excited to try out their latest dish – The Hong Ge Soontofu.
Hong Ge, also known as the Red Crab in English, hails from the exclusive waters of North-Eastern Asia. With its consistent climate and cooler temperatures, Red Crab meats are well-known to be sweeter, tender and plump, making it the perfect accompaniment to the robust, savoury tofu stew.
Freshly hand-made daily, SBCD Korean Tofu House specialises in soontofu using specially imported soybeans from Paju, South Korea. The tofu stews usually come with varying levels of spiciness but we chose the standard level this time round.
While their mainstay dish is already very good on its own, the Korean Red Crab definitely elevates them to the next level. Though the highlight of this dish was supposedly the Red Crab, all of our bowls were filled to the brim with an extremely generous portion of other seafoods such as prawns and clams.
Usually, we’d tend to stay away from seafoods because of their strong fishy stench but this dish stole a piece of our hearts and our initial reluctance vanished with each bite of the sweet, white meat. There was no stench at all, in fact every piece of seafood was so fresh, it felt as if we were transported to the Korean seas. The main star of this dish is the red crab but we can definitely say that the prawns, clams, tofu and soup each deserve a spot in the limelight as well.
Thanks to their partnership with the Korean Fishery Association which has established the national K-Fish licensing brand, SBCD Korean Tofu House has direct access to the freshest, highest quality seafoods from South Korea. At the same time, this partnership gives us the opportunity to indulge in some of Korea’s finest cuisines, including those that can hardly be found here in Singapore.
We’re so glad this monster of a dish happened and for that, we give the Hong Ge Soontofu, a solid ten out of ten. The Hong Ge Soontofu is available at SGD23.90++ for a limited time only–while stocks last!
Since 2019 is coming to an end, I thought it’d be good to do a review of all the K-beauty products I’ve tried this year that I’ve yet to review. Some of these products were launched this year while others have been around in the market for some time. As with all products, your mileage may vary. Ahead, my honest thoughts on the products I’ve tried.
Black Foundation in 17N1, $75
This liquid foundation is lightweight and gives a semi-matte finish. Because this foundation is so lightweight, it felt extremely comfortable on my skin. After a couple of hours though, the drier parts of my face started to look patchy, so I don’t think this product will work well for those with dry skin. This product also has a strong scent that I’m not a fan of. Available at HERA stores.
Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream, $29.90
This cruelty-free BB cream provides a natural and sheer coverage, great for a “no makeup” makeup look. This product helped brighten up my skin, giving it a healthy look. Although it does not provide much coverage, this product is enough to hide the redness from my blemishes. The downside of this product is that it only comes in one shade. Available at selected Guardian stores.
Play 101 Pencil in #21 and #34, $12
The multipurpose Play 101 Pencils come in many shades and textures. I got one in brown and another in pink. According to the packaging, #21 can be used for your hairline and eyebrows while #34 can be used for your cheeks and lips. I tried using #21 on my eyebrows and #34 on my cheeks and lips. I found it difficult to use #34 on the lips as it did not go on very smoothly. I also had to go over my lips a few times with this product which was kind of a hassle. The pencils are not bad but they’re not fantastic. Available at Etude House stores.
Skinny Microcara Zero in #01 Black, $16
I’ve bought the innisfree Skinny Microcara Zero twice this year because I like it that much! I highly recommend this if you’re into simple, everyday makeup looks. This waterproof and smudge-proof mascara helps keep my eyelashes nicely curled. The mascara brush is also thin and coats each lash well. I also like that this product is relatively affordable as I tend to replace my mascara every few months in the name of hygiene. Available at innisfree stores.
Ink Highlighter in #03 Beige Kitten Beam, $15.90
When Watsons announced that they’ll be bringing in Peripera products, I knew I had to get something. Although Peripera is well-known for their lip products, I didn’t exactly want to get another lip product so I got their Ink Highlighter instead. This shimmery liquid highlighter is easy to use and gives a subtle, natural glow that nicely catches the light. Available at selected Watsons stores.
Stained Glow Lip Balm in No.2 Rich Red, $33
This is the lip product I’ve used the most this year; I really like it a lot. This tinted lip balm is moisturising, feels comfortable on the lips and gives a beautiful wash of colour. It also has a pleasant scent that’s reminiscent of strawberries. Available at LANEIGE stores.
Cleansing Pop, approximately $6.28
This portable cleanser comes in three versions to cater to those with dry skin, oily skin and sensitive skin. Each box of Cleansing Pop has 10 individually packaged sheets in it, with the size of each sheet being smaller than palm size. To use, I put the product in my palm and add some water to it, after which it will promptly disintegrate and turn into a foam-like consistency. I then apply it all over my face and cleanse my face like how I normally would. It removes makeup well but I recommend that you still use a proper eye makeup remover if you have waterproof eye makeup on. Available at Luthione’s website or Korea’s Watsons stores.
Gold Solution Care Eye Cream, $58
This eye cream claims to treat eyebags, dark circles and wrinkles. It has helped reduce my eyebags and dark circles with consistent use. It doesn’t burn my eyes, is moisturising and has a light, pleasant scent. Although it’s quite pricey, it works well. Available at Sasa stores.
Entering the cinema with little to no expectations, this is as honest as a review is going to get. With only some background knowledge on the two leads, Jo Jung-suk and Im Yoon-ah, I was pretty excited to see where this film was going to go after knowing that the both of them were co-stars.
Jo Jung-suk has always been known to portray very memorable comedic acts (think Architecture 101) while on the other hand, Im Yoon-ah has always been on my radar for being an idol-turned-actor. Not only was I interested to see the type of chemistry they would give out as a pair but I was also excited to see how their talents would shine in ‘Exit’.
In this film, Jo Jung-suk and Im Yoon-ah play as friends from the same varsity Rock Climbing Club who had some sort of history before losing contact with one another. Fast forward a few years into adulthood, both of them have once again crossed paths and met at an event, albeit awkwardly.
Yong-nam (played by Jo Jung-suk) is an unemployed adult who is having a bit of tough luck finding a job. Still a rock climbing fanatic, he spends his free time doing crazy workouts at the nearby community park to the point his nephew shuns him, his family desperate.
On the other hand, though Ui-ju (played by Im Yoon-ah) is an assistant manager at a banquet hall, she is constantly troubled by her self-centered manager and his advances.
Unbeknownst to them, this fateful meeting soon turns into a disaster as an act of terror springs upon the city late into the night. As a result, this film takes an unexpected twist, turning from a heartwarming youthful film to something that potentially came out from the books of ‘Train to Busan’.
The two of them are thrown into a hazy situation where they had to save themselves and Yong-nam’s family. And you guessed it, with the help of the duo’s rock climbing skills.
No fancy-schmancy plot or complicated characters build ups, just pure action with strings of comedy tied into the film to keep you on your toes the entire time. Don’t let that gripe you though, as this film is easy to digest yet fun to watch, a family-friendly film for sure.
It was a hit with the crowd and you know the director is doing something right when you hear the entire theatre exclaiming and shouting with each intense scene. At the height of the film, it was so crazy that we just couldn’t take our eyes off.
As with every comedy, expect to see the cast being put in ridiculous funny situations that make no sense, some over the top reactions by all the actors as well as some dramatic music to make each scene pop. Definitely not underwhelming or overwhelming in any way, it had the right amount of everything all mixed into one.
And seeing how director Lee Sang-geun attempted to tie in some comedic aspects into seemingly what would have been a boring plot, he did a great job keeping the film alive while pacing it well at the same time. For a directorial debut, I would say he wasn’t off to a bad start and I cannot wait to see what else he has to offer in the future.
This film also marks the first time Im Yoon-Ah has a leading role in a Korean film. While she did a decent job bringing life to the character, her role as Ui-ju was not as impactful as I had hoped for it to be. Many times, she could be seen as just “Yong-nam’s University Crush”, I wished she would have been given the opportunity to make more of an impact or at least, expand and develop on that role a little more.
Furthermore, Jo Jung-suk, while being an extremely talented actor, seems to play the same type of funny, guy-next-door character a little too often than not. His character here resembling many of the ones he previously did before, we secretly hope to see him expand his repertoire in the future.
In short, ‘Exit’ is a joy to watch with your friends and family, this film is sure to keep you entertained in classic Korean comedy style. A recommended watch for someone who is looking for a bit of action with laughter.
Actor’s Appeal: ★★★★☆
Sense of Satisfaction: ★★★★☆
‘Exit’ opens in Singapore cinemas from 12 September 2019. Watch the official trailer and find out more about the film here:
Over the years, South Korea has produced countless films over a spectrum of genres ranging from emotional youth flicks to heart-dropping horror films. What began as a production catered just for the locals, became a global multimillion phenomenon with thousands of ardent enthusiasts worldwide.
Korean films are undeniably at its ultimate peak nowadays with many people impressed at high-quality production and compelling storylines so today, we present to you 10 of the best K-film classics (in no particular order) that you have to watch at least once in your life. Some will make you cry while some will make you laugh your heart out so be prepared for the most thrilling emotional rollercoaster of your life!
1. Miracle in Cell No. 7 / 7번방의선물 (2013)
A story that will make you realize just how great a father’s love really is. The film follows Yong-goo (played by Ryu Seung-ryong), a mentally challenged father, who gets wrongfully accused of kidnapping and murdering the daughter of a high-ranking official of the National Police Agency.
Despite being served the capital punishment for his “crime” and being mistreated by the fellow prison guards because of his disability, his only concern is the well-being of his young daughter, Ye-seung (played by Kal So-won). His last wish to see her was never meant to be fulfilled until 5 of his other cellmates devise a plan to sneak her in for one last chance to reunite.
2. Ode to My Father / 국제시장 (2014)
The Korean War separated many families and many were forced to go through rough times and personal sacrifices to make ends meet. As Deok-soo’s (played by Hwang Jung-min) family get split from his dad and sister at a young age, he assumes the role as Head of the Household and devotes his everything to support his family.
As the story progresses, join Deok-soo as he goes through the many milestones and hurdles in his life until the present day. This is an educational, emotional and enriching film that teaches you the story of perseverance and true love.
3. King and The Clown / 왕의남자 (2005)
Set in the Choseon Dynasty, this film tells of a story between a King that was broken on the inside, and his 2 court entertainers that were desperately trying to escape death. The story begins with Gong-gil (played by Lee Joon-gi) and Jang-sang (played by Kam Woo-sung), a circus troupe based in Seoul.
With satire and crude humor being the core of their performances, they get more than what they bargained for when a bunch of royal guards catches them mid-performance. Join the duo as the attempt save themselves from the death row on one condition – They are free as long as they can make the psychopathic King Yeonsan (played by Jung Jin-young) laugh.
4. Sunny / 써니 (2011)
Fresh into the bustling city of Seoul, Na-mi (played by Shim Eun-kyung and Yoo Ho-jeong) finds herself struggling as she tries to fit into the standards of this foreign place. As she stumbles her way through her first day of high school, she is joined by 6 other girls to form the clique “Sunny”, who vow to protect and be there with one another through thick and thin.
This is a heartwarming tale of 7 friends going through a significant period of their lives together and experiencing the sweetness and bitterness of it all. As the coming-of-age film progresses, reminiscence your youth with the cast as this story touches on their friendship and loyalty.
5. The Host / 괴물 (2006)
What would you do if your loved one was taken away from you right in front of your eyes? After a monstrosity attacks the main pipeline of Seoul and leaves the country defenceless, journey together with Park Kang-doo (played by Song Kang-ho) on a thrilling adventure as he does whatever he takes to save his daughter before his whole family gets destroyed.
As this heroic film plays on, keep a lookout on all the symbolic implications that can be found throughout it. This film will not only tell you of the boundless love a person has for his family but how human ignorance has no limits.
6. A Moment to Remember / 내머리속의지우개 (2004)
Cheol-su (played by Jung Woo-sung) goes through the ultimate test of love when he discovers that his wife, Su-jin (played by Son Ye-jin), has a rare form of Alzheimer’s Disease, a sickness that induces memory loss as each day passes. As if there’s an eraser in her head, her memories of them start fading away and Cheol-su is left to deal with the remnants of what is left.
The couple faces a setback and soon the world they’ve spent years trying to build, collapses. As they spend the remainder of their days together, learn the true meaning of love as they test its boundaries.
7. Silmido / 실미도 (2003)
This film is based on a true story that struck Korea in the 1960s, after North Korea attempted to assassinate South Korea’s then-president by sending spies over. In the hopes of overthrowing the regime and to exact political revenge, the government establishes a secret unit comprising of ex-convicts/social outcasts.
In exchange for a clean criminal record and a fresh start in life, they were tasked to bring in the North Dictator’s head but halfway through the execution, the mission was called off and the government ordered for all the members in the unit to be executed. As the unit’s hope was crushed, and as they cannot deny their impending deaths, the camaraderie between them all and their loyalty to the country are put to the test.
8. My Brilliant Life / 두근두근 내 인생 (2014)
Diagnosed with a life-threatening disease since birth, A-reum (played by Jo Sung-mok) does not grow up the same way kids his age do. Plagued with wrinkly skin and a perpetually weak body, A-reum’s time on Earth was limited but his parents (played by Gang Dong-won and Song Hye-kyo) strives their hardest to give their beloved son the normal life he deserves.
Forever blaming themselves for the tragedy they placed on their son, the family goes through a hard time trying to make ends meet, all while trying their best not think of the inevitable.
9. Old Boy / 올드보이 (2003)
A true-blue Korean classic that people nowadays still talk about. The story revolves around Oh Dae-su (played by Choi Min-sik), an ordinary businessman whose live take a 180-degree turn after being kidnapped. Locked up in a strange hotel room, with zero clues on who his captor is or what his motives are, he is accompanied by the TV for 15 years until one day, he is unexpectedly set free.
After being robbed of 15 years for no rhyme or reason, he embarks on a journey of endless puzzles to solve this mystery and to bring justice to his name.
10. A Werewolf Boy / 늑대소년 (2012)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching all the K-Films, is that they are always so thought-provoking and profound. And this movie is a prime example of that. This is an absolute tear-jerking that teaches us all that love has the power to transcend all physical matter, and that it can be expressed with mere actions and looks.
Chul-soo (played by Song Joong-ki) is randomly found by Soon-yi (played by Park Bo-young) one day and she soon discovers that he is not human. The duo embarks on a journey together and Soon-yi starts teaching him the ways of the human world until one day, a disaster strikes and the two are forced to make a choice.
How many of these classic films have you watched and which are your favourite ones? 😉