Ratings

K-dramas

49 Days 8.5/10
Lovely and poignant, balances melancholy and light-heartedness, plus strong acting and writing – gave me goosebumps and kept me on my toes every time. For some weird reason though, it didn’t resonate with me as strongly as I’d like to.

Alone In Love 10/10
Completely precious, deserves to be treasured slowly and lovingly. Contemplative, moody, atmospheric and thoughtful, with great performances. A great slice of life drama!

Bad Family 9.5/10
Solid, hilarious, unabashedly silly, and warm. Enjoyed every episode and enjoyed the chemistry between all family members, and Kim Myung-min was incredibly cute.

Bad Guy 6.5/10
Beautifully made, generally great acting. It has all the elements of cool except the story, which never really engaged me. Because of the allegedly atrocious ending, I avoided the last 2 episodes and relied on Dramabeans recaps.

Best Love 8/10
Strong start, strong acting, strong charms by the always lovely Gong Hyo-jin and Butthole Jin…. Objectively, without knowing other Hong sisters’, it’s a sure 8 (even 9) thus that’s what I put. But subjectively it’s more like a 7. I haven’t watched the last episode and have no intention to.

Couple of Fantasy 6/10
I think, one of Hong sisters’ weaker one. It was pretty entertaining and easy to watch, good to pass time, but I just don’t think highly of it. Han Ye-seul and Oh Ji-ho’s abs were pretty good though.

Coffee House 8/10
Nice tone, great variety of comedy from slapstick toilet jokes to quirky and offbeat. The lack of obvious OTP thrills me, and the flawed characters, esp the main male lead, is intriguing. Park Shi-yeon shines and Kang Ji-hwan is amazing.

Coffee Prince 8/10
Love the indie vibe and atmosphere. Love the chemistry. The “I will go gay for you” storyline was heartwrenching, but it ran out of steam at the last few episodes, where they went through the usual cliches to fill time.

Dal Ja’s Spring 8/10
Kang Tae-bong! Like! My favourite Chae Rim drama. Loaded with Girl Power, fresh and funny side characters and of course delicious, swoony swoony Lee Min-ki. Towards the end, also the same runing out of steam.

Delightful Girl Choon Hyang 7.5/10
My first trendy and Hong sisters drama, it has a really funny and fresh appeal for its time. Although it all went rather depressing after 10 or so episodes. Jae Hee was great and Han Chae Young was natural.

Dr. Champ 7.5/10
I love slice of life stories. And underdog stories. And a genuinely sweet in a down-to-earth way male lead. Therefore I love Dr. Champ with its breezy atmosphere. Even so, some writing flaws are hard to ignore. I’m particularly scared to see all these athletes dropping like flies. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but worth watching.

Dream High 8.5/10
Far from perfect (esp the acting), and yet so engaging, full of heart, infectiously happy and an instant mood-lifter. Surprisingly, the story kept me on my toes. And…. Kim Soo-hyun!!!!! This is a winner after all.

Evasive Inquiry Agency 10/10
Fresh. Different. Awesomeness on so many levels. Damn, though lacking an overrated central romance theme (who needs it?) this show has it all: rock solid writing, acting, quirky and memorable characters, fabulous chemistry. Went from wacky to choke-full of heart, but always loads of fun. I heart this show!

Flames of Desire
Very riveting, heartfelt makjang. Wouldn’t have thought such a combination will exist.

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop 7.5/10
Strong start, strong ending, manages to be funny, smart, and touching even with its familiar set-ups and cliches. It is also the first drama to give me serious second lead syndrome. One of the better rom-coms out there.

Flowers for My Life 9.5/10
I dissed the drama at first so I’m very very glad I gave it a second chance. Founded on sad undertones and death, but manages to be bright and uplifting. Thoughtful, but non-preachy.

Full House 5.5/10
The first few episodes were winning and cute. The rest? Mehness all around. Couldn’t even follow the logic.

Goodbye Solo 7.5/10
I wasn’t ready for a Noh Hee-kyung when I watch this, therefore I stopped for a while due to the the slowness despite its obvious goodness, flawed and real characters.

Hyena (M) 9/10
A gem. Hilarious, daring, risque, but also touching and heartfelt. It’s an honest drama and comedy for adults; each flawed, real character left a deep impression. Fabulous writing and acting.

Jejoongwon 9.5/10
Wow. This medical sageuk is warm, wholesome, comforting, nutritious, singing-heart-inducing, just like warm milk. A wonderful and heartfelt underdog tale. Park Yong-woo ftw!!

Job Well Done 4/10
Started off awesome, but make a hasty exit after episode 10 to spare your sanity from atrocious, frustrating writing and impossible characters. I often heard “heartwarming” used to describe family dramas, but this one made me wanna bash things. Even Eom Ki-joon can’t save this mess.

Life Special Investigation Agency 7.5/10
Dorky fun, pleasant and amusing, mostly light but at times quite touching, and not too romance heavy (thank God!). The episodic format is cool, but could be written better. Recommended for a refreshing mystery fare. A must watch for Eom Ki-joon fan! He is so good there.

The Last Scandal of My Life 7/10
Standard Cinderella story with an ahjumma twist, but really nice execution and great acting by all leads.

Magic 7.8/10
A thought-provoking story, interesting and memorable characterisations, and great acting. And Kang! Dong! Won! And Kim Hyo-jin too, I love her. Might appear less polished and sleek than the usual fares (plus I watched this 2004 drama in 2011), but all the above more than makes up for it.

My Girl 8/10
Lee Da-Hae grated on my nerves at first. But once I gave her a second chance, she’s growing on me and I have to say she’s the reason the drama’s so good, her energy level is unbelievable! Also, great chemistry and fun story.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho 7.5/10
One of the sweetest romance. Show is brimming with cute, warm, fuzzies, anchored by an awesome and highly likeable lead couple and a great heroine (at least, initially). While I’m fond of it, it never really excites.

My Love Pattzi 5/10
So-so.  But, The two Kim xxx-Wons were cute.

I Need Romance ?/10
I know it’s gonna score pretty high 🙂

Soulmate 9/10
Funny and frank, both lighthearted and thoughtful. Music was outstanding eventhough some tracks were overplayed.

Stairway to Heaven 6/10
This I hold dear in my heart, when all the makjang-ness made me really passionate and emotionally involved. I’m sure if I rewatch it again, I will hate it. So I won’t.

Story of A Man 9/10
My first thriller drama. Intense, clever, smooth as silk and Kim Kang-woo scared the crap out of me.

Que Sera Sera 8.5/10
Intense, daring and sexy, made me speechless with awe eventhough some characters are really unlikeable. Great atmosphere.

The Vineyard Man 7/10
Ze great Oh Man Seok held me spellbound and my love for him blinds me from the meh-ness of everything else. Ordinary story and predictable cliches, but sweet, enjoyable and genuinely funny at times. To be honest though, without Oh Man-seok, it would have been a 5.

Witch Yoo Hee 2/10
The best thing about this drama was laughing at Dramabeans’ snarky recaps on food that looks like burnt vomit.

What’s Up Fox 9/10
Oh! Squeal! Squeal! Squealy slice of noona-killing Chun Jung Myung PIE! He and Go Hyun-jung do a super job to kill me from the cute overload.

Who Are You? 7.5/10
Bear the OTT first few episodes and see how Yoon Kye-Sang’s dedication moves your heart and make you love the drama. Jin Yi-han is great too.

Worlds Within 7/10
Insightful depiction to the life of the people behind kdrama-makers. Slow, deep and insightful, but preachy. Their crazy stressful lifestyle in the broadcasting world is interesting, but the main pair annoyed me a lot. Now only if they choose the right characters as main leads.

Vampire Prosecutor ?/10
I promise I will pick this up again, one day.

You’re Beautiful 8/10
Super funny, amusing, very very addictive, pure escapism. Out of all the Hong sisters’ I watched, this is the one I most enjoyed. The heroine is too dim-witted for me, but luckily the great Hwang Tae Kyung makes up for it.

Dropped K-dramas:

  • 9 Ends 2 Outs
  • Assorted Gems
  • Attic Cat
  • Bad Housewife
  • Biscuit Teacher Star Candy
  • Capital Scandal
  • Cinderella’s Sister
  • The Musical
  • Pasta
  • Personal Preference
  • Secret Garden
  • Smile, You
  • That Fool (Accidental Couple)
  • Triple

K-drama Wish List:

KBS Drama Special (some episodes), Conspiracy In The Court,Ressurection, Damo, Taereung National Village, Joseon X Files, The White Tower, Harvest Villa, Comrades, The Devil, The Scale of Providence, La Dolce Vita, Kyung Sook, Kyung Sook’s Father, Giant, My Name is Kim Sam Soon (yes people I haven’t watched this), H.I.T, Athena, Green Rose, The Man Who Can’t Get Married, The Time Between The Dog and Wolf, Goong, Strongest Chil Woo (hehe), Boys Over Flowers (hehehe), What’s Up?, Padam Padam.

Asian Movies

3-Iron (Kor) 10/10
Gorgeous, stunning, effective use of haunting silence. Couldn’t get it out of my mind for days. I freaking love Jae Hee.

Arisan (Indo) 8/10
Seemingly light, but goes deeper. A really good satirical comedy about three good friends stuck in a rut and the stifling societal expectations..

The Art of Seduction (Kor) 6.5/10
Hmmmm… nice acting, good chemistry, feel good movie, but nothing special. Good for a chick flick night.

The Art of Fighting (Kor) 6/10
Another OK experience that didn’t move me, except I feel so bad for Jae Hee’s character.

The Beautiful Boxer (Thai) 9/10
Kudos to Asanee Suwan who gave his all to portray the talented kickboxer who fights on the ring to help her family and finance her sex change operation. This movie is a true winner, made with sensitive, caring and lovely hands.

Ca Bau Kan (Indo)
I need to watch this again but I remember I used to really like it.

Citizen Dog (Thai) 6.5/10
Cute and rather amusing, lovely despite (or is it because of) the amateurish feel. I still feel the movie’s style over substance.

Civil Servant Level 7 (Kor) 4.5/10
After a few Gabriel Allons, the idiocy of Kang Ji-hwan’s “spy” character still frustrates me. I understand the movie’s goodwill to entertain though. It’s actually pretty funny and easy to watch.

cin(T)a (Indo) 7/10
Intriguing and lovely ambience, even if it felt rather amateurish.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Chi) 9/10
Breathtaking and lush cinematography, with memorable characters masterfully acted by all leads. Now I fully agree that Zhang Ziyi isn’t just a pretty face.

Crush and Blush (Kor) 7/10
Great first half, but got weird in the last. Oddly charming, though, and the three main girls are just adorable.

The Curse of The Golden Flower (Chi) 6.5/10
Lavish and visually awesome. Lots of yellow and push-up bras, but I don’t seem to remember anything else. Ooh, I think I remember a wooden Jay Chou!

Eiffel I’m in Love (Indo) -2/10
A complete waste of money that still angers me every time I remember it.

Hero (Chi) 8.5/10
Gorgeous and artistic, lovely use of colour scheme.

Infernal Affairs (Hk) 8/10
Intense, intricate, clever and well made, but convoluted.

Infernal Affairs 2 & 3 (Hk) 4/10
Double fail for me. I think they’re overmilking the cow.

I Not Stupid (Sing) 7/10
Passionate and sincere school story portraying the Singaporean society, with lots of heart.

In the Mood for Love (Hk) 8/10
Lovely ambience, saturated with desire and longing. SLow and sexy.

My Little Bride (Kor) 7.5/10
Freaking cute couple with inappropriate age gap. Inoffensive, easy watch and very enjoyable.

Never Forever (M, US) 7.5/10
Hands up, who else watched this because Ha Jung-woo is a sexy bastard? This little guilty pleasure is like Harlequin; but elevated thanks to heartfelt acting by the two leads. Vera Farmiga was a revelation!

No Regret (M, Kor) 7/10
Just the opposite of My Little Bride. Very very daring, but I can’t shake the feeling that it is controversial just for the sake of it. Passionate, dedicated acting by Kim Nam-gil and Lee Young-hoon. I fell in love with the latter for his soulfulness. Stay away if you’re offended by gay movies.

Norwegian Wood (Jap) 6.5/10
Beautifully shot and atmospheric, but also a bit slow and awkward. Pretty scenery, and pretty people! Alas I find the characters a bit too annoying to relate to (my problem with Murakami, but that’s a topic for another day).

Last Life in the Universe (Thai) 7/10
Lovely, sweet and whimsical. Has a unique and slightly morbid atmosphere, although too slow for my taste.

Love for Share (Indo) 9.5/10
Great movie. A harsh story told with sincerity, you can’t help but love it.

The King and The Clown (Kor) 9.5/10
Heart-breaking storyline, great acting all around. Lee Jun-ki’s beauty is mesmerizing.

My Sassy Girl (Kor)
Man, I need to rewatch this… can’t remember enough to give it a rating.

Paju (Kor) 7/10
Subtle, slightly creepy tone and a bit depressing. But Seo Woo and Lee Seon-kyun are both awesome.

Untold Scandal (Kor) 7.5/10
Wickedly fascinating. Jeon Do-yeon’s restrained acting is outstanding.

Red Cliff (Chi) 8.5/10
Sweepingly epic, its fame is well deserved.

Rough Cut (Kor) 8/10
So. Ji. Sub. Swoooon. Gritty and oddly funny, more a drama than an action movie. Kang Ji-hwan does a great job too, but oh, So Ji-sub… *sigh happily*

Sepet (Mal) 7/10
Lovely ambience, cute interracial romance, although needlessly melodramatic towards the end.

Sex is Zero (M, Kor) 5.5/10
Ha Ji-won is pretty good but there’s nothing special.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (Kor) 9/10
Gorgeous and loaded with metaphors, very easy to fall in love with.

Welcome to Dongmakgol (Kor) 9/10
Just watch it and be touched.

What’s up With Love (Indo) 7/10
A massive hit, a well-made high school romance with gorgeous leads. But I don’t think it’s that great.

Non-Asian Movies

(and I suppose, minimal Hollywood stuff, except the ones I feel strongly about. I mean, I’ve passed my pretentious douche stage and I like my Hollywood just fine, but rating them is rather pointless I think. Rotten Tomatoes does a much better job)

500 Days of Summer (USA)7.5/10
No one can say no to Joe Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, the king and queen of quirky cute, right? Bittersweet and funny, but I expected more.

8 Women (Fra) 5/10
I went in with all the wrong expectations. It turned out to be a… musical comedy murder mystery? ………. I just didn’t get it.

Adaptation (USA)6.5/10
Good movie and all, but too self-aware and pompous for me. We know you’re a tortured genius but announcing it to the world is wayy uncool, Charlie Kaufman. Now I don’t dare to watch Synecdoche New York.

Amelie (Fra) 9/10
The mother of all quirky movies. Very engaging and Audrey Tautou rocks.

An Education (UK) 8/10
A controversial story told simply, charmingly and beautifully. I fell in love with Carey Mulligan here.

Amores Perros (Mex) 7/10
It’s very good and very epic I suppose, but it didn’t move me that much.

A Very Long Engagement (Fra) 7/10
Slow and beautiful. Not as engaging as Amelie but very artfully and masterfully crafted, lovely to look at. Might be too boring for some though.

The Beat My Heart Skipped (Fra) 7.5/10

Being John Malkovich (USA) 8.5/10
Some very weird ideas from Kaufman. I don’t know how, but it works really well.

Dear Frankie (UK) 7.5/10
A very sweet and heartwarming movie watching experience, with just enough bittersweet undertones. I think it’s the only time I really like Gerry Butler.

District 9 (ZA) 10/10
So F%#&ing awesome and badass I have to break my own rule of no cussing on the net. One of the most unlikely, sympathetic, desperate heroes ever. Awesome acting. The only reason one might not like it is because the aliens were unpretty, and probably the obvious metaphors..

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (Fra) 7/10
Squirmingly hard to watch at times, but strangely uplifting. but Mathieu Almaric’s jawdroppingly amazing acting is a perfect ten.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swe) 7/10
A decent adaptation only killed by the fact that the book is much more awesome in my head. But Noomi Rapace is very good.

Good Dick (M, USA) 8/10
A surprising winner. Don’t let the title fool you. Sensitively made with lots of heart and themes that are sometimes too close for comfort.

Hallam Foe (UK)6/10
I watched it for Jamie Bell. The movie’s quite alright but it’s worth watching for a Jamie Bell fan.

Happy Endings (USA) 7.5/10
Slightly loopy oddball characters making up a nice ensemble cast and a surprisingly sweet movie.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (Fra)8/10

Human Nature (USA) 8/10
A Gondry + Kaufman combo! Before the brilliant Eternal Sunshine, they made this. Inappropriately-LOL funny, brilliant, and unabashed. Awesome performances by the three leads. A winner!

Juno 5/10
I went to the cinema, getting so ready to like it. But… Why the hype? Why the pretentiousness? Why the perfectly formed razor-sharp one liners shot out one after another? Ellen Page is alright and the movie is not offensively bad, but still… I don’t get it.

The King 7.5/10
I don’t remember when I started to fall for the Latino love of my life Gael Garcia Bernal, but it might easily be this. He’s so chillingly good in this shocking, uncomfortable, dark movie. Approach with caution, watch with the risk of curling up into a dark, depressed ball on the corner.

Lars and The Real Girl 8/10

Little Miss Sunshine 9.5/10
Another gem of an underdog story. Not without flaws but very charming, super fast paced, inappropriately funny. And what a great ensemble cast!

Lost in Translation 8.5/10
Lovely and poetic, quietly powerful. I realise Sophia Coppola is a one trick pony but what she knows, she does really well.

Love Me If You Dare (Fra) 8.5/10
Crazy story, makes me forget your moral values for the duration of the movie.

Machuca (Chil) 7.5/10
Well balanced, charming mix of a coming of age story with political backdrop. Pedro Machuca is a dear.

The Motorcycle Diaries (Arg) 7.5/10

Mysterious Skin (USA) 6.5/10
Gritty, hard to watch and depressing, it’s just not for me but it’s actually very good. Don’t watch it for entertainment value. Watch it for your undying love for Joe Gordon-Levitt. He’s awesome here.

Napoleon Dynamite (USA) 8.5/10
One of those movies you love to bits or go “WTF”? Me, I’m the former. Jon Heder and the rest of the cast were so unabashedly dedicated. The humour was so dry I’m all parched, but couldn’t get enough. So many classic moments, the chapstick will never be the same again.

Pan’s Labyrinth (Mex) 9/10
Seriously, chillingly good stuff. All fairy tales should be like this, sinister and dark, not those saccharine fluffy stuff we get these days (well fairy tales for adults at least).

Punch Drunk Love (USA) 8.5/10
Loopy, loony, and also incredibly sweet unlikely love story. Paul Thomas Anderson, you’ve won me over!

Priceless (Fra) 8.5/10
Charming and really cute, with a bit of a crazy streak. Very easy to fall in love with.

Rory O’Shea Was Here / Inside I’m Dancing (UK) 9.5/10
Love love it! Soulful, touching, funny. Both Steven Robertson and James McAvoy were awesome.

Running With Scissors (USA) 4.5/10
Meh and meh all around. What a waste of a good cast.

Russian Dolls (Fra) 6/10
A sequel to The Spanish Apartment. Not nearly as good.

The Science of Sleep (Fra) 5.5/10
Sigh. I really, really want to like this, it’s Michel freaking Gondry and Gael freaking Garcia Bernal. And really really cute visuals. But it’s so hard to be liked. Some funny and cute moments, but why do I feel so detached? At least, it’s not offensively bad.

Secretary (M, USA) 8.5/10
Delicious. Surprisingly touching and sensitive. Both raunchy and poignant, so everyone gets what they’re looking for in this movie. Both leads are so sexy!

Sideways (M, USA) 9/10
First watch: WTF? Second watch: Love it! I love that it doesn’t take itself too seriously but does so well when it matters. Also, it’s painfully funny.

The Spanish Apartment (Fra) 8/10
Fun, fun, fun movie. Great ensemble cast. Watch if you love those slice of life things… which gets loopier and loopier before you realize. It’s lovely to see how these random people who happened to share the apartment slowly bond, join forces and look out for one another.

Thirteen (USA) 6.5/10
Daring and jaw-dropping, OTT at times, but is it just for the sake of being controversial?

Tomorrow When The War Began (Aus) 7/10
Lots of flaws, far from smooth, mediocre acting, cheesy, cringe-y dialogue, but it’s all very decent and engaging. And it’s a great story. I also haven’t read the book, which helps.

The Virgin Suicides (USA) 8/10
Low-key and darkly comic. Great atmosphere and poetic. Not for everyone though.

The Visitor (USA) 9/10
Kicked ass. Brilliantly made, sensitive and heartfelt, with just enough hint of bitterness and frustration (esp the powerful ending scene). Has all the elements of a winner.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (M, Mex) 7/10
I think I watched it when I wasn’t ready… LOL. Very strong visuals. But you know that already.

7 Responses to Ratings

  1. ditdut says:

    Evasive Inquiry Agency is easily a 10/10 for me. Totally recommended.

    Also I totally rec you to pick up Capital Scandal and That Fool again! I loved these two dramas a lot. The ambience of CS was so different and I loved the rebel movement side of the storyline. That Fool simply got tenfold better in the second half of the run.

    Biscuit Teacher, I really only watched for Gong Yoo and Gong Hyojin. Not the best drama, but was kinda fun. 9 Ends 2 Outs got heavily melodramatic toward the end, but great chemistry from Lee Jungjin and Soo Ae.

    • tupai says:

      Evasive Inquiry Agency, the first episode was excellent, heaps of fun. Next on my watch list.

      Capital Scandal, dunno, I like both leads, I like the Jazz Age, and so I really want to like this drama but somehow it didn’t click for me, like the sum is less than its glamorous, individually likeable parts.

      That Fool, I want to pick up again because I’m really curious with Hwang Jung Min, whom everyone regards really highly, even though first episode was all sorts of dull for me.

      Biscuit Teacher I don’t think I will, because I’m lacking the undying love for Gong Hyo Jin plus Gong Yoo, which I suspect will be the only thing propelling me along.

      9 Ends 2 Outs I’m still divided because I’ve heard lots of good things about, but like with Capital Scandal I haven’t got the itch to go watch beyond the first few episodes.

      I suspect the reason why my patience wears thin so quick these days (besides being spoilt with choice) is that I’m not friends with the FF button yet – still don’t want to let go every ounce of precious, painstaking download & streaming – remember the painful days of dial up?

  2. susan sia says:

    love your ratings on k dramas. On asian movies, i’ve been looking for your rating on The Classic, A Moment to Remember and Windstruck.

    • toopai says:

      I haven’t been watching Asian movies for a while *bows* it’s been kdramas all the way these days. But The Classic does pique my interest – I heart Sohn Ye-jin.

  3. sandy says:

    harvest villa is such a brilliant drama on of my fav of all time and the very few koreans who watched it agreed it was the best thing to come out of korea for years cause the pace and the style is so fresh and the actors are wonderful soooo underrated you should watch it next

    I am currently near the end of La Dolce Vita with a few episodes to go I am not that thrilled to complete it it is well written and well dircted but it was a boring watch I did not feel anything for any of the characters

    • toopai says:

      Harvest Villa is on my continually growing watch list… As for La Dolce Vita, I am pretty curious because the writer.. I wish I can spend more time on kdrama these days 😦

  4. germaineora says:

    i recommend a wife’s credentials! watch it and you’ll not be sorry… keep up the good job… love reading your reviews and your blog…

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