Renseignements

  • Dernière connexion: il y a 17 minutes
  • Lieu: in my Pillowfort
  • Contribution Points: 0 LV0
  • Rôles:
  • Date d'inscription: décembre 18, 2023
  • Awards Received: Flower Award1

i watch too many dramas

in my Pillowfort

i watch too many dramas

in my Pillowfort
Complété
Damashie no Kiba
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
Il y a 11 jours
Complété 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 7.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 7.0
Since the synopsis is rather non-descript, let me start by giving some more information:
After the owner of a Japanese publishing house has died, a power struggle ensues. Hayami is appointed as the managing editor of the magazine Trinity by one side -- and editor Takano is also caught up in this, even though she just wants to publish well-written and interesting serialized novels. Both will try to save Trinity in their own ways.

The writing is tight -- every dialogue has meaning, so this is not a casual watch. It took me a while to get who is who and who wants what, which is important because this is very much character-driven, I had to rewind some scenes in the first half hour.
The characters' motivations and ambitions are only revealed by what they say, or don't say; sometimes by their actions -- and a lot of it means you have to read between the lines. The movie's title -- 騙し絵の牙 -- Fang of Deception -- or, the official English title Fangs of Fiction -- hints that at least of these characters may be hiding secret motivations.
There are several plot twists in the end, one of which I did not anticipate at all, but, in hindsight, made a lot of sense.

Also, I want to point out that the office sets, like in many other Japanese productions, are excellent! For example, I love how cramped and busy the editors'room of Trinity is, the mountains of paperwork of every available surface. The space of the much revered Kunpu Reviews, in contrast, looks much more organized and still as realistically used.

Fangs of Fiction is both really funny and shows us the contemporary struggles (of the publishing industry) at the same time. Both the external struggle as a traditional company against the new online world, and the more internal struggle about traditional values and old styles of story-telling versus modern innovation and showing more diversity in stories (I loved the cameos of the disabled and the old model and of Ladybeard.)
It also subtly touches on issues of how women are treated in fiction: The main female editor is constantly trying to point out how outdated the depictions of female protagonists in the fictional novels are -- and is instantly shut down by her male companion. I am glad to see that the female protagonist in this movie is at least as important as the male main character -- and how she found her own successful way of dealing with the issues of the publishing world in these modern times.

Recommended! Maybe you'll find more subtle deceptions when you watch the movie, I'm sure I did not catch them all.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
2gether The Series
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
mars 27, 2024
13 épisodes vus sur 13
Complété 0
Globalement 1.0
Histoire 1.0
Acting/Cast 1.5
Musique 4.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 1.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

I was promised the "fake relationship" trope, but I just got "jealousy" as the main plot device.

Let's talk about the first half of the series:
Sarawat is supposed to act as Tine's fake boyfriend, which btw is dropped in favour of "flirting" ("wooing" would be a better translation) -- but where are the sweet gestures of love?

Until the second half of episode six, Sarawat only looks either bored or annoyed. He never looks as if he's interested in Tine, faked or not. If I were Green I wouldn't buy it either.
I only knew he would be the main love interest because the synopsis told me so. Where are the feelings? Where's the pining? Sarawat's side of the story is only told in episode 10 or 11, which is too little, too late.

Tine, the self-proclaimed "Mr Chic-Chic" is (almost aggressively) heterosexual -- his only interests are girls and songs from one band. Even when he tried to dissuade Green from pursuing him, he starts to flirt with girls in front of him and Sarawat. If he's so certain of his sexuality, there should have been more of a struggle or at least emotional imbalance until he accepts his own feelings toward Sarawat.
I had hoped the "gay for you" trope had died a silent death some twenty years ago but it seems it's still alive and kicking.
Also: Even though he's supposed to be a good cheerleader, we only see him standing around in one pose (and even that plot point is dropped in the latter half otf the series).

Jealousy is not only the main catalyst for Tine to discover his own feelings, but also the main plot device for conflict in the following episodes, which gets old very fast.

Even when Sarawat and Tine are "together", the only strong emotion they show towards each other is jealousy. No besotted smiles, no casual touches, no hugs, nothing. Where's the giddiness of new love?
They touch each other less then they touch their friends. I'm not talking about anything above a PG level of intimacy, several other BL dramas I love have only one kiss or not even that.

Tine's continued denial of Sarawat's advances make it seem as if he's not actually in love -- except if it's supposed romantic but asexual. (Which would actually be a novel and exciting concept for a romance drama, if done right!) But as the series has established Tine as somone strongly interested in (het) relationships, that can't be it.

I feel that conflicts during the series were never satisfyingly resolved, but just ended with some kind of deus ex machina device. Best examples: How Green stopped pursuing Tine; and the question if Tine's brother would accept their relationship.

Another thing that made me really frustrated with this drama is that boundaries are often disregarded. It starts with Green who gets told repeatedly his advances are not welcome -- and continues anyways. It goes on with Tine, who doesn't stop bothering Sawrawat (doesn't matter if Sarawat actually likes it or not -- what counts is what Tine knows, and Sarawat clearly tells him to go away). It doesn't stop with the side couples -- neither Sarawat's brother nor Man stop their pursuit, even after being told to leave. I can't enjoy a relationship if it feels as if one pertner just gave in to harrassment.

I'm not sure if it's just the plot or also the acting, but directing has definitely a large part in why I could not get into the series. I disliked all of the characters, there was never a moment when I rooted for any of the couples to get together. Small changes in how lovers-to-be interacted with each other would have made it a bit better, at least.

There are other points, I would have liked to talk about the female characters for example or to wonder how they manage to establish top/bottom-dynamics in all four couples without even a bit of handholding, but this review is already long enough.

All in all, I had to stop and do something else every few minutes, since the plot and the acting had me so frustrated. I just finished it because I knew I'd never pick it up again if I stopped. I'm glad it's over.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Order of the Sommelier
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
mars 13, 2024
64 épisodes vus sur 64
Complété 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Musique 6.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 6.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers

Little Gem

I watched this series on Viki, in the edited 12-episode-format.

Some people have mentioned that it's obviously low-budget -- but I think if the story and the story-telling is good, things like this don't matter much. And the story-telling is excellent!

First, the series is set both in our present and in the past (or maybe dreams) -- and they are beautifully interwoven. I loved how smoothly the transitions between both worlds are done.

There are five sub-plots (or rather short stories) about friendship, familial love, romantic love -- about loss, letting go, sacrifice, and healing. These are cleverly tied together by the "Demon Bar", a place where demons meet, and destiny brings customers to ... well, to what? To dream? To tell their story? To relive past lives?
What is real, what is a dream -- this is never quite clear; and in the moment when the sommelier (the demon hunter?) maybe grasps an important part of the truth -- the series is over.

I wouldn't even be sad if there's never going to be a second season, this ending is kind of perfect.

Throughout all of these sub-stories, we also follow the friendship (and it can't be more, it's from China) of the demon hunter and the dragon. The former gets some backstory and also some character development; the latter unfortunately not. Maybe he is supposed to remain shrouded in mystery.

On a personal note: I laughed a lot -- but I also cried at the end of every sub-story, especially the first two had me bawling my eyes out.

[This is a slightly edited version of the review I posted on Viki.]

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Ai Long Nai
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
déc. 28, 2023
12 épisodes vus sur 12
Complété 0
Globalement 1.5
Histoire 1.0
Acting/Cast 2.5
Musique 3.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 1.0

underdeveloped plot, underdeveloped characters.

There's three things you should know before you watch this:
1. The producers of this series are also the people who made "Second Chance", "Coffee Melody" and "Tin Jem Jai".
If you liked those, you might like "Ai long Nhai".
2. There are a lot of scenes, where it's clear that they intended to have a product placement. There are no product placements in the whole series. Either the production company is very bad at finding a sponsor or all potential sponsors did have no interest.
3. Ai long Nhai -- อัยย์หลงไน๋ -- Ai is infatuated with Nhai. That's it. That's the story.
[As an aside, the dictionary I use also gives two other meanings for หลง, which are a) [is] lost; confused; forgotten; neglected; mentally weak; b) to lose one's way, to go astray, to get lost, to be mistaken or forget; to be absorbed; to be absent-minded -- which is Nhai's personality in a nutshell]


The series -- I hesitate to call it a drama -- suffers from these points:
1. Interesting plot ideas, which never go anywhere and unconnected scenes, with plot holes and inconsistencies.
2. Side characters who can't even be called "one-dimensional".
3. Old BL clichés, and not the good ones.
4. Low funds, static scenes.

Let's elaborate:
-- 1. The series had a really strong start. I especially loved the banter between Ai and his father. When Ai first met Nhai, I expected this story: Ai falling in love at first sight, and subsequently pursuing a clueless Nhai, in more and more ridiculous situations; to the great amusemant of ai's father and friends -- I would have loved this comedy.
I liked that it was Nhai who made the first move, and his subsequent self-exploration. He was a classic case of a gay man deep in the closet (pining after a girl he will never get, getting physical with men when drunk, insisting that another man is just a friend and some internalized homophobia -- vocally claiming that touching another man is "eew"). That also would have made a really good story, maybe finally something more LGBTQ+ than BL. And they could have made this story light-hearted and funny, if they wanted. But that was quickly discarded.
Nhai's characterization as dirty and generally being a slob could also have been something new and interesting, people could have asked Ai "Why that guy?". It was kind of important but didn't translate into his appearance. He always looked styled perfectly, and I couldn't even see that his shirt was not ironed.
Scenes were often not connected, side stories discarded. I never could tell how much time had passed. Between a scene and the next, there were inconsistencies several times. Example 1: The friend group talk about Ai and Nhai several times, whether those two are together -- but there's no continuity, the discussions are always as if the friends haven't talked about it before. Example 2: In episode seven, a hickey appears and disappears, and reappears.

There's more, but this is getting long, so on to the second point:
-- 2. The side characters. I'd complain that the female characters are there just to advance the plot for the main characters -- but the friend group is more or less the same. They stay remarkably bland, considering they have quite a bit of screentime. At the end of episode two Nhai tells us about his friends in a voiceover, but this information is never important for any of the plot.

-- 3. Clichèd BL tropes that I hate.
Top/bottom dynamics, including the use of "hubby" and "wife" -- The top is manly, sucessful, knows how to get through life, perpetually horny, while the bottom is whiny, fragile, needs help constantly, reluctant when it comes to sex. There's a review here by RemmiKay, who says "This is a CLASSIC exchange of power relationship." There's actually some textual clues for that, so it works. While I don't think this interpretation is in any way intended by the writer or the producers, it made watching the series bearable. Still, even from an exchange of power relationship I'd expect that both are shown as into the sex -- Nhai continues to look like a nervous virgin whenever things turn sexual, and it gets worse the longer the series goes on. (Even if Nhai would only be playing at being reluctant, as part of their relationship dynamic, the audience should get to see that he wants it.)
There's the stereotypical gay (maybe transgender?) friend; there must be a gay friend in a romence, right? Of course, they are flamboyant, have pink hair, but they are definitely not beautiful or attractive. And it's disheartening that Nhai goes to this friend when he's unsure about his attraction to Ai and gets "Yes, of course you are the wife" as an answer. That's not helpful and also sexist.
Too many side couples. While other Thai BL productions in 2022 seem to have learned from past mistakes, this one tries to give a male love interest to everyone in the friend group. Not only do most of them not go anywhere (the one that does, just ... does, behind the scenes), the three friends also had explicitely stated that they are straight in previous episodes. (see above, inconsistent plot)

and, finally,
-- 4. low funds. The sets, few as they are, look empty. Ai's condo is supposedly "like a labyrinth" (Nhai, somewhere in the second of third episode), but it's not, and you can see that -- the living room and the kitchen are in the same room, for example. The props in the shelves etc. are obviously placeholder props; had they filmed in one of the example rooms in an IKEA, there would have been more personality to this living space. There are no knick-knacks or anything that makes a home a home. Ai's car seems to have cost most of the money they had.
That everything, the sets, the clothes and so on is mostly in white and black, really does not help.
Scenes often just were two or more people standing and talking, which made the already slow pace wven more static. Some actors need more acting classes.


Overall, I feel that the writer had some good ideas, but shied away from anything that would have made the series more interesting, either writing a good conflict (inner or external) or more comedy. Was it too daring for him?
But even if they intended to make a slice-of-life series, they would have needed something more plotty and consistent.
It's like a teenager's first fanfiction -- they love their characters, they don't want to hurt them, they write things they wish for in their relationship. But for a product that is supposed to bring in an audience, who'll remember the story, this is just not enough.



That being said, there have been two small things that need to get an honourable mention:
* I think this is the first Thai BL in which lubrication for anal sex is mentioned, and hopefully used.
* Ai explicitely states that he is bisexual. In most BLs they don't even use the word "gay".

(P.S: A shorter version has been cross-posted to Viki.)

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Dap Saengrawi
6 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
janv. 11, 2024
Complété 10
Globalement 1.0
Histoire 1.0
Acting/Cast 3.5
Musique 5.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 1.0

Heteronormativity at its finest

Change the character of Rawee into a woman, and you'll get an old-fashioned, tropey romance movie with a supernatural side.

Why?
Rawee is the typical young orphan, who is brought into the house of a new family, first of unclear status, then gets engaged to/married off to the family`s son.
Rawee stays at home and makes desserts for the family, while Phloeng is outside, doing business things. Rawee is easily hurt, and the manly Phloeng carries her, sorry, him, because Rawee obviously can't walk on his own after scraping a knee. Phloeng is the one who gets jealous and overall is the one who pushes their relationship to the next levels.
Apart from one remark at the beginning, Rawee's gender has no relevance at all.

There's really no point in Rawee being a man. (Because the character isn't, it's just a male body in a female role.)
(Edit to add: And it's a stereotypically "weak" female role, at that. I like women to have more agency, and Rawee basically has none.)

The side couple really had no relevance to the story (at first I thought maybe the ghost would use it, but no.) and could have been left out. Instead the time could have been used to tell the ghost's story in more detail.

The acting was all right, good by the seasoned actors. Cinematography was fine, music non-remarkable.
Sets were appropriate for the early 1960s, as far as I can tell. I'm not too sure about the clothing -- in Europe no man would have just casually worn a T-Shirt, and short trousers for a young men of 21 years would have been a no-go. but I'm not familiar with Thailand's fashion in the 1950s and 1960s, so they might be okay.

Well, at least now I can point to another movie whenever I want to show what I mean when I talk about heteronormativity in BL dramas and movies.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Haken Anime!
2 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
Il y a 8 jours
Complété 0
Globalement 8.0
Histoire 7.5
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 7.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 1.0

some background knowledge needed, otherwise excellent movie about the creation of anime series

[Edit to add a warning if you're photosensitve or are currently suffering from a migraine, the fast pace, the use of lighting and / or the jumpy half-finished aminations seem to have an adverse effect on some people.]

The film dumps you right in the middle of things. I did not understand at all what was happening until about the 35 minutes mark, and even then it took me another 10 to 15 minutes to really get it. I went in cold -- did not even read much more than the tags on the Japanese Film Festival Online 2024 website -- anime, business, drama -- so I had no idea what this film was about.
Several other things that probably did not help was that a) the Japanese names and titles that were shown with each introduction of a new character often were not translated and b) I do not know anything about the anime industry; also, c) it is not clear in the beginning which secondary characters will be important and which will be not, and most of them are introduced rather fast, so I was not able to keep track of them, and tended to mix them up in later scenes, as well as d) the sets for the two studios also look very similar, and e) I didn't know which anime series was which (because we only hear about the plot after about 40 minutes of runtime).

For the story, this is what I think would have helped to know: There are two production studios, who simultaneously make an anime series each -- both series are scheduled to air at the same time, so they will be direct competitors.
"Soundback" is directed by newbie Saito Hitomi (the woman with the glasses) and her producer is Yukishiro Osamu (sleek guy in a suit), it's colour coded as light blue. This is the one with the two sisters and the group of kids from a rural town.
"Liddell Light" is directed by Oji Chiharu who had a huge hit eight years ago (guy with tousled hair) and his producer is Arishina Kayako (woman, usually in business attire), it's colour coded as pink. This one is about a magical girl on a racing bike (or something like that).

So, live action scenes are supplemented by animations from both series (often half-finished) and also by animated scenes where the ratings and reactions from the audience are shown to us (this is where the colour coding comes in).

The main struggle might be between the creativity of the directors and the constraints of the market (an anime has to be commercially successful!). It also might be between the two directors, who compete and try to make the superior anime (which is where the title comes from). The film is much more complex and can't be reduced to just one "message" -- there are other stories below that, so it is worth to look a bit closer -- what seems the main issue in the beginning might not be what's actually important.

As soon as I got the hang of things, the film was excellent. Of course, the acting is incredible, but I was particularly impressed with the camera work and the editing. Fast-paced scenes in cramped and dark spaces are directly followed by slower, even contemplative scenes.
I loved the use of space and light, of static filming and of following moving characters with the camera -- it's quite obvious that a lot of thought has gone into this.
For example: the fast, almost oppressive, mood in the beginning is countered by an equally fast, but uplifting, mood in the last part -- we have the same sets, the same cast, the same time constraints to finish work, but they feel completely opposite, showing and underlining the main characters' state of mind.

Which is why I think some more time would have been good, maybe even as little as fifteen minutes or so, so that I could have been less confused in the beginning. In my opinion it must be possible to understand a film even if you know nothing about it before hand, even if you're not familiar with the subject (i.e. the making of animes in this case).
I also think that I did not get as close to the characters as I want to, there's no real connection there -- some more time would have helped with this too.

One last comment: I love that the male characters don't overshadow the female characters -- they have all their unique focus and their own strong personality. (Dare I even say it? I think both female main characters have a stronger personality than the male characters.)

Overall, I liked it and I learned something new about making anime, so that's a plus.
If you go into the film with the background info I gave above, and maybe a bit of knowledge of the anime industry, then I think you'll enjoy it.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Twenty-Four Eyes
2 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
Il y a 8 jours
Complété 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 8.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 2.0

Of historical interest -- and also very moving. I cried.

The way "Twenty-four Eyes" is filmed, is period-typical for a movie, especially one that is not about action but tries to explore characters. I watched more than a few western films from the fourties and fifties, so I was already familiar with the style of acting and filming, as well as the sound quality (especially voices and singing have a special "ring" to them, which is hard to describe.) For people who are not used to this, the movie might feel strangely slow and static.

With 2 hours and 36 minutes, the film is quite long, even for modern standards. There are three parts:
First, we meet the twelve children and her teacher in the first grade. For both the children and the teacher their roles at school are new and unfamiliar -- and while it might seem as if not much is happening, the freedom and serenity of this first hour is a good contrast to the following parts. After a time skip of five years, teacher and children meet again in the children's sixth grade, the last obligatory school grade back then -- we'll see how both the children's families and the growing nationalism (with it, the looming war) will shape their futures. And, lastly, vignettes of the following years of war and death, and how it impacts even that small Japanese island. There's also some time dedicated to the aftermath -- children, now young adults with their own kids, and the teacher reunite, look back to their shared past and then into the future.

I think for anyone who wants to watch this in the 21st century, it is important to be aware that the year that the film was shown
in cinemas -- 1954 -- is only nine years after the end of World War Two. So, these children (young adults in the later parts) could have been themselves, their children, their brothers, sisters, husbands and wives. I can imagine that the film was cathartic for the audience back then; it definitely must have had a stronger emotional impact than it could ever have for me.

Besides the emotional journey, and the reminder of how nationalism and senseless wars (and all wars are senseless) will destroy lives, for me the film also gave me a chance to see Japan as it was 70 to 90 years ago. We get to see two rural schools and a glimpse of teaching and learning; we see the houses in the fishing village; we hear people's thoughts on poverty, proper manners, women, family. I loved seeing how the style of clothing changed from 1928 to 1946.
(The film had the advantage that everything was very recent, so sets are probably authentic buildings and streets, and the people who made it could just remember how it was. No extra research needed.)

There are quite a few scenes that were very poignant, such as the teacher's despair that nationalist teachings had overtaken everything at school, or the scene after the war ended when her eldest son is not able to grasp that everything he believed was now supposed to be wrong.

One thing that I was a bit disappointing was that the songs's texts (the children sing quite often) were not translated in the subtitles. I think these were mostly Japanese folk and children's songs, and the texts probably underlined the emotions of the scenes -- but the international audience won't know them. It's not the fault of the film, but disappointeing nevertheless.

Overall, if you have the chance to watch it, do so!

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
févr. 13, 2024
8 épisodes vus sur 8
Complété 0
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Musique 8.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 10
I've watched this series several times so far, not because there's a lot to discover with each rewatch but because it's a solid drama, well done within the budget constraints, and it balances well-loved tropes with some more sombre notes.

Things I liked:
* The story has two of my favourite tropes (emenies-to-lovers and accidental/forced roommates), which are are really well done. The boss/employee vs. tenant/landlord dynamics give good balance to their relationship. Overall the plot is a bit predictable but the characters' development and the interaction of the team members make it enjoyable.
* The team members were great, they provided both comic relief and an outsider's point of view for the developing relationship. They were also quite cute.
* Kang Woo Jung's acting was brilliant -- I hope he'll get the chance to act in productions of different genres, so more people will see him.
* Both lead actors seem comfortable with each other, which makes the intimacy between the characters believable. (It's sad that I have to say this -- but in some Korean BL dramas the actors seem so uncomfortable!)
* I also like that we get to see a glimpse of the struggles some gay men go through -- unluckily falling for a straight man, the fear what would happen if you're outed at work, how people will judge you for being with another man. Yoon Seo Bin was good at portraying all of these with a side of internalized homophobia. This topic was there throughout the show, sometimes just as an undercurrent, sometimes more obvious, but it never distracted from the sweetness of the romance plot.

Things I did not like:
* The acting of both main leads was a quite muted at times. Especially in the scenes when their characters argue with each other, I did not feel the emotions as much as I could have. I think stronger body language and facial expressions would help. They are both really good at expressing their emotions with their eyes, though, so it's not a question of talent -- either they just have to practice a bit more or the director did direct them that way. (Or is it something more ... chemical, at least concerning facial expressions? With the entertainment industry as it is, I wouldn't rule it out.)
* I wish the show would have made Jae Yoon's motivation for his decision in episode 7 clearer -- either by characterizing him better in earlier episodes or telling the audience outright. I think Jae Woon's actions come across as more tropey than it was intended.
* Also it would have been nice to get more of Ho Joon's backstory earlier and not infodump everything in one (though very heartfelt) speech.

All in all, one of the better K-BLs I've seen, and very comfortable to watch repeatedly.

[This is an updated version of the review I posted at Viki.]

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
1000 Years Old
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
mai 4, 2024
12 épisodes vus sur 12
Complété 6
Globalement 10
Histoire 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musique 10
Degrés de Re-visionnage 10

Weird, remarkably consistent -- and can make you think if you look beyond the Pork Blood Soup

For vampire Pun, only meeting Yo makes his own life meaningful. Only when they are together, during the all too short span of a human life, there can be happiness. Pun will enjoy every single second with Yo, it doesn't matter if these seconds are good, bad, or deeply absurd.

For those who seek help in deciding if they should watch this series, this might be important to know:
* Take all of your ideas what a vampire story should be like, and put them away, because this story either discards them or at least subverts all the vampire tropes.
* Almost all of the characters are weird in some way. If you can't handle "cringe" (whatever that is, because I still don't understand the word), then this might not be for you.
* Blood Pork Soup sometimes feels like the main character of the show. This is what brings the group together.
* This is not a fast-paced romance. At times, it seems as if this show is not about the romance, but about the absurdity of life. Which also means that sometimes it seems that nothing is happening at all. Relax, follow the flow of the drama, enjoy every scene on its own, without expecting it to advance the story -- and you'll enjoy this show.
* Pun is, and that is important to notice, usually at least an unreliable narrator -- inconsistencies in what he says are not plot holes. Take everything Pun says about himself or other vampires with a grain of salt, he has his reasons.
* You *will* get a common trope used in stories about humans and immortals at the end.
* And last, watch the trailer https://youtu.be/5ekNPUazAmA. For a trailer, this one is pretty much accurate. If you like what you see there, you might like the series.

_________________________________
Now, the things I love about the series:
1. The series tries to do something different.
While I can love a tropey rom-com, I don't want only that. I love when somebody does something new; when tropes are discarded or subverted. Actually, I was deeply sceptical before I started watching this serie, because I DON'T like vampire stories and their tropes. Dark and brooding, cruel and mysterious, erotic blood-sucking included? No, thank you. But this one is different. This is colourful, and bright, and everybody enjoys the absurdity life can bring.
"Different" always gets bonus points, even if other aspects might not be good.

2. The characters are weird, and so, so loveable.
Pun, of course, the good vampire who loves Yo and Pork Blood Soup, who once wore braces as an accessory, whose assortment of colourful umbrellas shade us from the harsh sun of reality.
Yo, who is obsessed with aliens and fascinated by the weird, who likes wearing his beaded bracelets and, of course, loves eating Pork Blood Soup.
Kamsai, whose main goal in life is to have a Pork Blood Soup stall, and who is the most pragmatic of them all at the age of 16.
Yam, Yo's little sister, who seems to be a no-nonsense kind of person but ultimately gives in to the weird obsession of Yo's, and who is the one who has a good sense for people and is the first to point out the attraction between Yo and Pun.
Shin, of course, who is hard-working, always full of energy, and who seems to have a slight humiliation kink.
And then there are the side characters; the alien-obsessed Pak and her mute girlfriend, the nosy but courageous auntie, Gyoza and her elderly grandma, the small and cheeky landlady.

3. The series is consistent:
When I watched the series for the first time, I waited for the plot to fall apart very episode. It didn't. Actually, after rewatching, I can say, the plot and the worldbuilding is remarkably consistent -- there are no glaring inconsistencies, no obvious plot holes. I do wish the writer had put more obvious clues about Pun's backstory in earlier episodes. As it is, the last episodes reveals *two* crucial pieces of information about the past and has to resolve all of it in half an episode -- this might be one of the reasons some people find the ending rushed.

I also have to mention that this is one of the few Thai BLs that actually give us dates! The main story starts shortly before Valentine (episode 1, the couple's discount at the food stall) and ends shortly after Songkran, then there's a time-skip of a year, after which follows a montage over the next fifty-four years (this can be easily calculated). So, and I think that's something a lot of people haven't noticed, the main part only takes just over two months -- that's actually not that long.

I also feel that the characters are consistent in their actions. There wasn't a scene when I thought that someone was out of character. Even the side characters had, well, *character*.
Look at Chalui / Luis for example. He's part of "UFO and the gang" (Yo's college friend group) -- if you observe him, he's obviously not as into alien hunting as Yo and Pak. He rolls his eyes continuously, he doesn't want to get involved with that vampire nonsense. He points out that their thesis in the next semester will be a solo project -- and consequently, disappears from the moment the break starts and doesn't appear again. (And, let's be honest, friend groups at college form and disband all the time.)

4. Something that also impressed me were the props and sets.
Seeing the Pun and Yo's rooms, they fit their characters. None of those soulless condos and houses for the super-rich that look as if they were just rented spaces for a series. I can see Yo and Pun *living* there, surrounded by all the things that are important to them. The roof-top restaurant, too, evolves over time, from a neglected space to a place where our group regularly meets and eats their pork blood soup -- props were added over the course of the series, changed places, were *used*. That shows what you can do with a small budget, if you know what you want.

5. The music.
Most of the songs are sung by Boy YourMOOD, who also plays Shin in this show, they are as up-beat and colourful as the whole series. And I encourage you to pay attention to the songs at the opening and closing credits!

6. The plot, in all its consistency, leaves some questions unanswered. (Yes, I'm still at "things I love")
I don't mean the important questions -- the main plot itself is resolved in the end; we get to hear the reasons for the main obstacle, we know why Pun acts the way he does. But there are some minor plot points that are left open -- I won't talk about them here, I try to keep this spoiler-free.
The thing is, I like it when I can think and theorize more after a show has ended. When I can have my little fantasies about what happened before and why, about what someone did or said between scenes, about what will happen after the last scene. Bonus points for that!

7. Below all of the quirky weirdness, there lie unexplored depths of existential questions.
Throughout the series, it feels as if the mood is just one turn away from shifting into the dark.
The drama asks: What to do when everything falls apart and the thing / the person that gave meaning to your life is gone? What will you do when you are the one who will outlive them all?
And: How much do you let yourself be defined by what you are? Can you go against your very own nature? Against what everybody else says how you should be? How long will you be able to defy expectations?
And: What makes a good life? Can happiness be a bowl of Pork Blood Soup?

________________________
The acting by all of the actors was not something exceptional, but we've all seen much worse in Thai BLs. Both main actors did a good job -- especially Pun's besotted stares and Yo's laugh whenever he was embarrassed or confused were very well done. The comedic timing was usually spot-on for me, and where it wasn't. it seems mainly be a strange editing choice. Somchai could have had more range -- the clapping and laughing got samey after a while, but in other scenes the actor was good enough to make everybody hate his character. Special mention goes to Mild who played Kaemsai, what a remarkable scene in episode 11! And she was only 16 when they filmed; I'm looking forward to following her acting career.

__________________
And, at last, the not-so-good.
Because everything cannot be perfect, and we can love something while also be aware of the flaws.
I already pointed it out earlier: There are two crucial plot points that answer questions that are central to the whole plot; and we don't even get real hints before that. While rewatching, I noticed that, at least for one of those plot points, there are actions that make much more sense now that I know what I know -- during the first time, I felt that there was something ... not quite off, but strange about them, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
In my opinion, it would have been possible to place more and stronger hints in earlier episodes, without revealing everything. It might also have made the series more palatable for the people who felt that it was "too slow" or that "nothing is happening".

To everyone who made it to the end of this review, I say:
โบกมือลา ... แล้ววันหน้าพบกันใหม่ --- Wave goodbye ... and meet you again in the future.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
White Cat Legend
3 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
mars 11, 2024
36 épisodes vus sur 36
Complété 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 8.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 9.0

Came for the comedy, stayed for the mystery, enjoyed the friendship.

The tl;dr:
* Good pacing overall, nice balance between mystery and comedy
* Fine acting, distinct personalities and interesting background stories for the main cast
* No Romance!
* Strong female character, who unfortunately gets pushed out of the plot later
* Important message; good portrayal of diversity (considering it's Chinese)
* Ear-catching OST

The first episodes start with a strong comedic vibe, which is sometimes even stapsticky, after which the drama progressively gets deeper into the mystery of what happened three years ago.
I liked how this change happens gradually, the audience gets lured in with seemingly simple detective cases, and glimpses into the background stories. Only slowly the bigger picture begins to emerge, and it's not until the very end that we know all of the important elements. And on the way to the story's climax, the comedic elements are not lost -- the whole show feels well-rounded in its pacing and in the balancing of the different elements.
There are no episodes that feel dragged out, nor does the story ever feel rushed.

All of the main characters are incredibly well portrayed. Usually with costume dramas, especially those set at court, with all these similar uniforms and hats, it takes at least three episodes until I know who is supposed to be who. Not in this drama! Not only have the members of the Judicial Court all distinct personalities (more on that later), but each character has his (or her) very own body language. Even when they do nothing but sit or stand around, it's possible to recognize each and every one of them, even from behind.

No Romance! Always a plus, if the writer doesn't force a het romance into an otherwise engaging story, just to prove that there is no homo-romantic attraction between the main characters.

I loved Vice Minister Shangguan from the first minute -- finally, here is a female character who is not a simpering, love-sick and annoying girl but rather a strong woman who fought for her right to have her own life. In a sexist society (other characters even comment on this), she opposed her parents' will and got into a position of power as an official. Her office which is overflowing with scrolls and paperwork shows how hard-working she is. She must have had a hard time navigating Palace politics, as a woman and sole vice minister -- always on the outlook for people who want to sabotage her and her work; and we get to see glimpses of how she did it in the first episodes.
I also loved how her appearance underlines her character -- she's wearing sensible clothes, her make-up is modestly done.
All of which make the one thing that's really bad about the drama even worse: When things get serious, she's getting shipped off, for her safety, or, as Li Bing would put it, "for her own good". Why? She's certainly not weaker that, say, Cui Bei. She's not less experienced in intrigue than Wang Qi or less clever than any of them. So, why? Only so that when it gets serious, she can't "steal" the spotlight from the men. Plotwise, it would have been very much possible for her to be an important part of the team.
This is the one reason I deducted half a point from the rating for the category "story".

One big point in the drama's favour is that it shows us how important it is to see others as a human being -- what it does to a person if they are dehumanized (whether revered as god or reviled as monster) and how it makes us more human if we are kind to one another. Connected to this is that the acceptance of diversity can only strengthen us. (Which makes it even more regrettable that Vice Minister Shangguan is not part of the team!)
The team of Ming Jing Hall are very different people, not only is the boss half-human, half-cat, there's also the superstitious ex-soldier, the "diplomat" with a fondness for cross-dressing, the bookish man who always brings bad luck, the bumbling country boy and even a foreigner!
(That's one aspect that I found astonishing, there was actually very little nationalism in this drama; usually Chinese dramas are all about how great and heroic the Chinese people are -- here they are the aggressors towards another country, while the presumed antagonist just wants ... well, that would be a spoiler.)
Only by working together, by not just accepting each other but also recognizing each other's strengths and quirks, can the team solve the mystery and get justice for those who have been wronged.

Overall, this is an engaging and well-acted drama that made me laugh, and made me cry, and had me on the edge of my seat until the last minute of the closing credits.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Zombie Detective
2 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
avril 20, 2024
24 épisodes vus sur 24
Complété 3
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 7.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 5.0
I started watching without knowing anything but the title and the picture that goes with it-- and I dd not regret a single minute!

What I liked best:

* The initial premise is different and interesting, the story arcs well paced and in the end, all story threads are neatly tied up. Even if they ended the series with a glimpse of a new plot, it felt more like a "this is not the end" than a cliffhanger.
* The main character was extremely well acted, I loved the facial expressions (or, sometimes, the lack of them) and how the actor moved his body, we never forget that this is actually a dead body, not a living being.
* The comedy was there duiring all the episodes, and varied between spoofing Zombie movies and the detective genre, slapstick-y routines and just plain hilarious situations.
* The mysteries were not too simple, but simple enough for a comedy.
* Some K-Dramas I've watched have a weird slump in pacing or story in the 9th to 11th episdes. This one doesn't, every episode was interesting or funny enough to keep me watching.
* There was no romance between the two main characters, only a hint of interest on the woman's side, which is not even recognized by the zombie detective.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Stalker
2 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
mars 22, 2024
14 épisodes vus sur 14
Complété 0
Globalement 10
Histoire 10
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musique 6.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 10
Every few week, I think "Hm, I could watch Secret Crush On You again..." This is how much of a comfort show it is for me.

This show is a fantasy for all of us who belonged to the "nerds", the "weirdos", the "fat" people or whatever group we belonged to and thought we would never have a chance to get the popular guy -- to make our secret crush our one true love.

First of all:
1. Toh is a very special kind of guy. His brain works differently to "normal" people. (I think people nowadays call that neuro-divergent.) He's also a rather campy gay man, which marginalizes him further and colours his world view heavily. This makes his actions hard to watch, although for him, they all make perfect sense.
2. Toh's friend group is loud, queer, a bit weird -- the whole show is made of camp.

If you can accept that and roll with it, you will have a very good time with this show. If you can't, then you should probably watch something else. I get that these over-the-top kind of shows are not for everybody.

Second:
1. What I loved most is the friendship between Toh, Daisy, Som and KaoJao. They are all supportive when it counts, pushing the other when it's needed,and not above teasing each other. It was also great how easily the two gangs mixed, the weird one and the popular kids. Toward the end, they were still very much present, and that's not something you always have, that the couple(s) don't forget their friends.

2. The second main thing I loved was: Those characters who are different (nerdy, queer, chubby ... just "different") usually only get supporting roles, mostly no love interest, and are often there mainly for comic relief. In this series they are the main characters! And they all get a love interest! AND, and this is the thing that made me give ten stars, none of them is required to change for that to happen. How often have we seen that the "ugly duckling" turns into a beautiful swan in the end? Not here, Toh remains his usual self, glasses, bowl cut and short trousers included.

Third:
* Kudos to the director: There are so many ensemble scenes, and even if they are not in focus, I haven't seen one actor fall out of character. It's a joy to watch the reactions and interactions in the background.
* Colour, audio and overall cinematography was fine. The background music was always there, as if whoever was in charge of it had a "horror silentiae", and sometimes too loud. I do love "แอบหลงรัก ", §ดั่งดาว" and, yes, even "Ooh My Loove".
* One thing that threw me out of my enjoyment of the explicit scenes was that they opened the condom packets while still dressed -- where are you going to put it then? (Also, I'd really like some lube sometime...)

Fourth, and that's the last one:
And I have to talk about it because I like to rant about the prevalence of top/bottom-tropes in Thai BLs, this was actually toned down a lot here. It was still there, and I wish we could get away from the "pushy" top. (Even though Sky was quite sweet later on, I'm not too happy about how he pursued Jao in the beginning and the grabbing around the neck/chest thing.)
Still, there was no feminizing a partner who was not like that in the beginning, that's good. Also no infantilizing whatsoever. The use of "wife" was mainly used to describe the roles during sexual activities, not as a character trait. Partners in two couples offered to switch roles if the other wanted it.
"Tops" were also at times insecure, emotionally open and one of them not really adept at flirting.
I also firmly believe that the bandana in Nuea's right backpocket (in episode 7) was intentional, and you can pry this headcanon out of my cold, dead hands.

Overall, a firm recommendation from me, if just because of the great representation of characters who are otherwise never in the spotlight.

[This is a slightly edited version of the review I posted on Viki.]

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Wedding High
1 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
Il y a 5 jours
Complété 0
Globalement 9.0
Histoire 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 6.5
Degrés de Re-visionnage 4.0

What happens when everybody tries to to their very best at a wedding

A wedding should be a couple's best day of their life! This is what drives not only the bride and the groom, not only the wedding planner -- but everybody who is invited (and one who is not invited).

We get to see backstories of the couple and a few of the guests, who all want to make this day special, while they have their own aspirations. I love the aquatic theme that's going on while they tell their own stories -- even though it's never quite clear why it this theme, not another. (If you know, please tell me!)
The film also takes its "Chekhov's Gun" very seriously, but no need to pay extra attention, you'll see when it's used.

These sincere and genuinely nice characters do their all to make the wedding the best wedding of all time -- and overshoot their goal; this is where most of the humour comes from. I waited for things to go wrong horribly. But this is not the kind of comedy, and it works!

There was a bit of sexism in the beginning -- the long-suffering husband(-to-be) who wants to please his partner, and the "guy outing" (what are guys up to when they are alone, hehe... not that funny, all very innocent though) -- but the groom and the ex-boyfriend are so cute and nice that I can forgive them. There was also a story arc with a bit of "diarrhea-is-funny", I don't mind that kind of humour, other viewers might.
A bit disappointing is that the female characters are not only in the minority but also much less interesting then the men (with the exception of the wedding planner).

All of the actors made their characters come to life -- and I fell in love with all of them. Especially notable was the scene where the fathers and old schoolmates entertain the guests, what a choreography!
There are two storylines that happen simultaneously but are shown after one another; I wonder if they couldn't have been shown as they happened or if this would have been too much? I suppose it's the latter, because overall the pacing was excellent, fast scenes and slow scenes followed an easy rhythm, according to the story.

I wasn't bored for a second, I laughed a lot -- and there were a few heartwarming moments. The ensemble plot and the multiple points of view with their backstories show us a wedding that will be memorable for all of them, the couple, the guests, and the staff of the location.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Mr. Long
1 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
Il y a 14 jours
Complété 0
Globalement 9.5
Histoire 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Musique 7.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 2.5
This movie is one of those I find it really hard to write a review for -- anything I would say would spoil it, since this movie is one of those which are fascinating because there's no way to know what will happen next.

So, I'll just point out only some aspects:
* Trigger warnings for explicit depictions of excessive violence, suicide, human trafficking, drug use rape and forced sex work.
* The movie is very slow and quiet, except where it's not.
* The movie is definitely not fluffy. But heartwarming all the same.
* There's a love story that is told in less than six minutes, from beginning to the end -- and I still cried for both lovers. (But it's still not a romance movie.)
* The young boy actor was impressive.
* A lot of the story is told not in dialogue but in silence. The movie expects the viewer to pay attention not what the characters say, but what they do.
* When people are victims, over and over, all of their lives, is there a chance to get up again? -- The story can be read as some social commentary. But maybe not.
* The sombre tone is lightened by the group of neighbours, whose loving antics are hilarious.

This is not a movie I will rewatch any time soon, it's just too intense for that -- maybe in a few years. But I can recommend it for anyone who is not disturbed by the themes mentioned above and wants something different that engages the mind.
It's probably best if you see for yourself.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?
Complété
Where Your Eyes Linger
1 personnes ont trouvé cette critique utile
Il y a 15 jours
Complété 0
Globalement 7.0
Histoire 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Musique 5.0
Degrés de Re-visionnage 3.0
Cette critique peut contenir des spoilers
Question: Is the Kim Pilheung the same character as in To My Star, just a few years younger?

What I liked:
* I actually liked that there was no inner dialogue, which is there in the series -- it made things a bit more ambiguous for me, which suits the characters' developing emotional state.* I liked the acting of all the actors.
* The girl's mother was cute :)
* We still don't know what is so different at the end of the story that it is possible for the couple to be together. I actually like that.


What I did not like:
* The premise is interesting (though similar things have been done already), but things don't really add up, unless Gang Gook is in some kind of indentured servitude? If they are both 18 or so, then 15 years ago, when their master-bodyguard-relationship began, Gook must have been three years old?
* Even if he started his role later, he would still have been a minor.
* Tae Joo's father seems to regard Gook as some kind of whipping boy, which is otherwise not seen as a problem, but it is an archaic practice that should not have a place in modern society.
* All of this imbalance of power between Tae Joo and Gook is adressed several times but never resolved between them. It makes the happy ending unfinished, for me, and leaves a bad taste...

The last points of both my lists would make an excellent starting point for a second series, in which their difference in status and the need for balance in their relationship would be the main theme. (Could even be as good as the second series of To My Star, I think).

Compared to the movie, I like the series less, since the movie's music score fits it better, and also I liked that we don't get the inner monolgue, which I found more distracting than helpful.

So, overall, it's not that bad, if you can and want to watch the story, then watch the movie.

Lire davantage

Cet avis était-il utile?