Monday, December 24, 2012

[Anime] You and Me (2011)

You and Me

13 Episodes - 2011
Slice of Life/ High School

[Anime] Usagi Drop

Usagi Drop

11 episodes - 2011
Slice of Life


Synopsis:

By force of circumstances, a 30-year-old single man with a full-time job suddenly starts raising a 6-year-old girl. While running each other ragged, the two of them gradually grow into a “family”. This is the long-awaited anime version of “Bunny Drop”, the extremely popular and finely crafted comic by Yumi Unita. It’s a heartwarming and entertaining work that naturally depicts child-raising experiences, but also the instantly relatable warmth and noise of being in a family.

Click below for review. May contain spoilers! Sorry.

[Kdrama] Manny (2011)

Manny

Korean Drama - 2011
16 Episodes
Romantic Comedy/Family

Plot/Synopsis:

Lee Han (Seo Ji-Suk) is a single man who becomes a nanny on a whim. He also happens to live with divorced single mom Do-Young (Choi Jung-Yoon) and her 2 kids. Janice (Pyeon Jung-Su) is a rich single woman who does not want to get married. They all end up living together.

Click below for review. may contain spoilers. Sorry.


[Kmovie] A Perfect Match (2002)

A Perfect Match

Korean Movie
2002 - 101 Minutes

Plot/Synopsis:

Hyo-Jin is the quietly industrious employee at a Korean dating agency who, while being very talented at finding her clients' their perfect match, finds nothing but a void in her own romantic life. Her ditzy friends are obsessed with finding that special someone though they are too caught up in day-dreams to achieve their goal and Hyo-Jin invents a boyfriend for herself as not to encourage their prying. One of Hyo-Jin's latest and most awkward clients - seemingly distant and disorganised Hyun-Soo - leaves an impression that gets underneath the surface of her professional demeanour. As she tries to match Hyun-Soo up with his dream date she is constantly battling with her own feelings and his foibles while also having to face the scrutiny of her colleagues. 

Click below for review. May contain spoilers! Sorry. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

[Kdrama] History of a Salaryman

History of a Salaryman

South Korea - Winter 2012
22 Episodes
Comedy/Romance/Business Crimes




Synopsis:

One night Yoo Bang (Lee Bum Soo) enters a dark, mysterious villa with nothing but a flashlight, only to find an executive of the Chunha Medical Group, Ho Hae slouched in a chair, dead and Jin Ho Hae's niece, Yeo Chi (Jung Ryu Won) hiding behind a curtain. At Ho Hae's funeral, Yoo Bang and Yeo Chi are suddenly taken into custody for his murder. We're taken three months into the past to reveal what led to this murder and exactly who was responsible. During this flashback we meet Choi Hang Woo (Jung Gyu Woon), a director from Ho Hae's rival pharmaceutical company, who is undercover to steal the formula for their new drug and the Chief Researcher from Chunha Group, Cha Woo-Hee (Hong Soo Hyun). The lives of these individuals will all be intertwined within these three months to reveal exactly just who murdered Ho Hae, and why.

Review:

Plot: 

History of a Salaryman is definitely one of the good ones. You get 22 episodes of the most convoluted plot ever of business crime, treachery, murder, forged wills, crazy secetary ladies and more. You are on the edge of your seat as you hold your breath to see if the traitorous bastards get caught or not and the victims get revenge. It was fasciniating.

Characters:

If you've been following my blog, then you should know that for both dramas and books, it's the characters that either make or break a work of art for me. I am a firm believer that it is the characters that are at the center of any storyline. In History of a Salaryman, the characters get 5/5 points hands down! I have never, in any korean drama, seen such a mix of highly developed characters with such depth. There were NO flat, one-dimensional characters in this scene. There were also no traditional caricatures of character. Yoo Bang and Yeo CHi are NOT your traditional/typical lead characters and provided tons of comic relief. God, the two of them were absolute riots! Director Mo is not your typical antagonist and her acting was absolutely superb (and creepy as hell). All of the other secondary characters were just as well done. The first sign of great characterization and acting? When you can't decide whether or not you like or hate a particular character!

Soundtrack:

Meh. Soundtrack was pretty good, but nothing extraordinary. Each track was well suited to the scene, but I'm not feeling a compulsion to go download the OST.

 

Overall:

History of a Salaryman is a one-of-kind drama. It's not like your typical corrupt business dramas, becasue the characters are too ridiculously funny for that level of seriousness. It's also not your typical romantic comedy, becasue the romance isn't in the forefront and again atypical characters that stray away from the norm. Though I wish that Yoo Bang and Yeo Chi's romance had a bit more air time, This is a drama series you DO NOT want to miss. I mean, how can you resist giving a drama with a lead character named "Breasts" a try? 

Looney Express awards History of a Salaryman a 4/5.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

[Book] Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi begins with a look into Pi's not-so-idyllic childhood in Pondicherry, India. The french-influenced town of Pondicherry doesn't quite fit in with the rest of British influenced India, the same way that Pi, once Pristine doesn't quite fit into his own world. We learn that Pi is interested in zoology and religious studies, at home at his family's zoo and a follower of not only Hinduism, but Christianity and Islam as  well to the shock of his parents and each respective religious leader in the town. This is just a glimpse into Pi's fascinating personality. He is unique, as unique as his nickname and his experiences are, in how he views the world around him.

This novel claims to make the reader believe in God. Though, I have this feeling of having read something profound, I can't quite pinpoint the soure of power. Is it because it is a book born of hunger; because of Pi's astonishing 227 day experience of being lost at sea with Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger as company; because of the maneating island; because of the sinking of the Tsutimatsu; because of the dual story told to the Japanese; because of Pi's self-inflicted, never-ending nickname; because of the importance of zoos; because of Pi's belief in three distinct religions; because of the happy ending? Which of these is the most powerful? It's hard to choose and they may very well be this novel's power.

Other aspects worth mentioning:
uMantel's writing style is overall engaging. He has great skill in wielding words to create the most vivid images in your mind as you read. Also, shifts within the novel from past to present, from narrative to author's voice were interesting, though sometimes sudden, forcing readers to pause and contemplate about their significance, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
uStrangely enough, the novel is actually pretty funny. It's full of sudden bursts of humor, mostly stemming from Pi's reactions to different situation. His reactions are oftentimes strange and not in tune with how we would expect ourselves to react and that makes him not only likeable, but fascinating.

In Life of Pi, readers spend 319 pages torn between feelings of awe, surprise, intrigue, disbelief, worry, humor, disgust, grief, belief, pride, happiness, success, fear. It's a rollercoaster ride of experiencing the seemingly impossible. What makes Life of Pi a true gold mine of a wok of literature is that it plants a seed of belief in your mind and heart--belief in the unbelievable, belief in animals, belief in the strength of humans, belief in the majesty and beauty of the ocean, belief in secrets hidden in undiscovered lands, and maybe,just maybe...a belief in God.

Until next time,
Tuma
LooneyExpress Crazy Reviews

P.S. This is DEFINITELY a novel in need of a close second reading. Give yourself some time to absorb its subtle awesomeness. Then a few weeks later, plant yourself in your comfy reading nook (don't have one? What is wrong with you? Go get/make one!) with some popcorn, gummy worms or other perfectly unhealthy reading snack and let yourself drift with Pi and Richard along the Pacific.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

[Indian Movie] 3 Idiots - 2009

3 Idiots

India - 2009
Comedy



Synopsis:

Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots". 

Review:

The title characters in this highly enjoyable 2009 Indian comedy movie are Rancho, Raju and Farhan, none of whom are idiots in the traditional sense. The movie begins with a series of hilarious events from a faked fainting spell to bring down a plane that’s already in flight, a pantsless joyride and threats to harm an idiot (of the usual variety), all resulting in a 10 year reunion. We find out though that someone very important to the others is missing. So, a roundtrip begins to find Rancho. Each stop tells more of the story of the 3 Idiots and their archnemesis--how they met and the reasons for why one of them is missing. With the use of strategic flashbacks, 3 Idiots manages to beautifully portray true friendship, the importance of following your dreams and true love. With the perfect mix of heartwarming humor and heartwrenching tragedy, we experience the miracle that is 'Rancho' Shamaldas Chanchad and how he changes the lives of this around him. Who said that TV teaches you nothing?

In 3 Idiots, there are many essential life lessons to learn:
  • Choose your passion and success will surely follow.
  • Avoid becoming the robotic student. Learn with passion, not remote memorization.
  • You may find your true love when he and two buds crash your sister's wedding.
  • The gardener’s son can be more than he appears.
  • Money doesn't buy happiness. (I think we all know this one, but it obviously bears repeating.)
  • True friends are those who stick by you through thick and thin, the good and the bad; even when you try your damnest to push them away.

In short, 3 Idiots is a definite must watch. I can understand why it's on the favorites list of many, as it has just been added to mine. Go watch it, now. Shoo. Wait, before you go. Here's a link to the full movie on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enl5ldkrMFs

Now go.

Until next time,
Tuma

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to Write a Critique or Review 101 by Prof. Tuma

So, you’ve just read a book or watched a movie that you want to write a review for. How do you go about writing a good one that will actually be helpful to others as they decide whether or not to give said book or movie a try? How do you write a review that will NOT annoy me because it isn’t serving its purpose of giving an objective critique?
Pull out your pens and paper and begin taking notes. Prof. Tuma will tell you what you need to know.
To begin with, you need to understand the purpose of writing a review; the duty of the reviewer. It is more than simply stating your opinions: “I loved it”. “I hated it”. “It was blah”.
You ultimate goal as a reviewer is to figure out the author’s/director’s purpose as you read or watch. Was the goal to produce a light-hearted romantic comedy, or a dark, magical fantasy? Your review is then in turn an evaluation of how well you believe the author or director accomplished those goals.

What do you look to critique?

1. How well does the work incorporate/include the elements necessary for its specific genre?
For example, in a fiction novel, it is necessary to have a story or plot sequence. There needs to be an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Authors can deviate from this by adding several climaxes, or beginning with the resolution, but this basic structure is usually in place for a good story. As a reviewer, you need to evaluation how well each stage was developed. Was the beginning informative and successful at pulling you in? Was there appropriate rising tension before the climax occurred. Was the resolution satisfactory and realistic in terms of the story already set out and genre of the work? These are the kinds of questions you will answer in your review.
2. How enjoyable, engaging, exciting (etc) is the author’s writing style (use of literary techniques or movie techniques) in respect to the genre of the work?
Does the mystery novel have an appropriate suspense build-up, or mystery movie have an appropriate eerie soundtrack. Does a historical novel/movie use time-referenced language or setting? How well are flashbacks portrayed? Sexual tension revealed? etc How you answer these questions will reveal how well you think the author succeeded in their goal for a particular genre or topic.
3. Are there grammatical or punctuation errors? Are there inaccuracies in facts or numbers?
Sometimes simple grammar or fact errors can make or break a novel. It can show carelessness on the part of both the author and publication company. It may not seem like a big deal, but errors make it hard for readers to delve into the work and can even make it difficult to understand.

What NOT to do in a critique?

1. Do not critique a book based on the criteria of a different genre.
When reviewing a book, do not criticize aspects of the book that are not necessary for the main genre or the author’s purpose. For example, do not criticize a fantasy novel’s lack of realism, when the very essence of the Fantasy genre is to be unrealistic. Instead, critique the author’s writing style in not being strong enough to enable you to believe anyway.
2. Do not Critique a book solely on whether or not it meshes with your own views and values.
When reviewing a book, try to remove your personal views as much as possible (though I know 100% objectivity is  impossible… unless you’re a robot). Do not state that you hate a romance novel simply because you didn’t like the fact that the lead female slept with the male within a week and so she seemed slutty. Try not to let your personal issues color the novel and its quality of writing. Same with movies. Do not give a bad review simply because you don’t like a particular actor. Reviews based on feelings like these are completely useless to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to give it a try.
3. Do not join the idiotic bandwagon, please.
Meaning do not say a novel/movie is great, simply because everyone says it’s great. Especially if everyone is under the age of 16 (half-kidding lol). And vice versa, do not say a work is horrible, simply because it seems as if the majority believes it so.
4. Do not critique a book based on or using parts of the respective movie.
Oh, god. Please don’t. This drives me nuts. “But the book was great!” “Yes, I know, but the movie sucked”. Or vice versa. When a movie is produced based on the book, I believe that the two are completely separate entities. Words and Live action are two different vehicles in which to portray the same story, using vastly different methods. So, if you’ve watched both the movie and the book, you should have TWO separate reviews.

Well, those are my suggestions for now. What do you think? Think any of them are a bit off? Do you have a tip of you own? Leave it in the comments!
Happy reading and Happy watching!
Until next time,
Tuma

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

[K-Drama] Love Rain (2012)

 

Love Rain (2012)

K-Drama (20 Episodes)

Genre: Romance

Love Rain

Synopsis:

When you’re in love, rain can be sweet like flowing emotions, or it can be bittersweet if it reminds you of the love that got away. While in college in the 1970s, Seo In Ha falls in love with the sweet Kim Yoon Hee. But destiny stepped in and separated them, and both moved on with their lives. Forty years later, In Ha’s son meets and falls in love with Yoon Hee’s daughter. Can the young couple finish what their parents started or will fate step in again to separate two generations of lovers?

My Review:

I really liked the concept of the plot of this drama. The whole parents were in love 20 years and then the kids fall in love bit was intriguing, emotional and highly interesting. The four first episodes showing the fast was an excellent touch.The lead characters of course were excellent. I love Jang Geum Suek in everything he does and Yoon A was adorable as Ha Na. The supporting actors added dimension to the series. The soundtrack was good. The ending was the perfect adorable bow to wrap around the drama. My only issue was the pacing of the drama. I felt the indecision of whether or not to remain together because of their parents in episodes 15-18 or so, was overdone. I simply fast forwarded past the angst to the end. I felt like they tried to stuff in too many other conflicts in addition to the main one, which I felt was unnecessary. I mean in addition to the star-crossed lovers bit, we had the evil mom, the love rectangle and even a disease! lol Despite my complaints on the pacing, I really enjoyed Love Rain and would recommend it to any K-drama enthusiast.

Friday, July 20, 2012

[Anime] Giant Killing

Another anime series finished. This one is a sports anime. I started watching Kuroko’s Basketball, which I love love love, but since it’s ongoing, I had to distract myself with another series. After a bunch of recs of Giant Killing, I decided to give it a try….

Giant Killing

Genre: Sports

26 episodes – 2010

Giant killing

Synopsis:

Experiencing a long streak of poor performances for several years in the Japanese professional football league, the East Tokyo United (ETU) hires Takeshi Tatsumi as manager to try to break the curse that seems to have fallen over the team. Having spent three years in England, Tatsumi managed to take an amateur team to the top 32 teams of the FA Cup. Many consider him a bad choice and protest against this decision. They hold a grudge against Takeshi because they consider him a traitor for leaving ETU at the height of his career when he was still a football player. Unfazed by the negative mood that looms over the field, Tatsumi seems confident that he might be able to bring glory back to his team once again.


In Giant Killing a ragtag bunch from East Tokyo are struggling in Japan's top football league. The team is going through an abysmal spell right now where they are nearing the bottom of the table and have lost 5 matches in a row. The losses haven't done much to team morale, because it was already low. Fan support, on the other hand, is looking bleak. In the world of football, once the fans turn on a team the end is near. Teams don't recover. Coaches are fired, players are sold, and teams drop to smaller divisions where profits often prevent them from ever being successful against even mediocre top division programs. East Tokyo United, ETU, can only blame their coach right now. And Coach is ready to give up this next game to prove to his team and fans, that against the biggest club in the nation he can make this team win.

My Review:

This was a bit of a disappointment. After all of the reviews praising this series, I was looking forward to an amazing football series. Yet, I felt it lacking. I fast forwarded through so much of this series. For one, the characters were kind of interesting and likeable. Each member of the East Tokyo team was sort of unique and added their individual charm to the team. My favorite characters were Kuroda and Gino! Yet, I felt that the characters needed more development. Part of the problem I think was the lack of screen time outside of game play. I wish we would have gotten the chance to see the players during practice or in other instances other than only during the games. Also, I didn’t like the choices in which games were shown and the speed in which games were played, lost (or tied or won) and then quickly on to the next. So, in short…Giant Killing wasn’t all that good, plot and pacing wise, but the characters and actual gameplay kept me watching until the end.

 

*Watched Giant Killing? Tell me what you thought of it in the comments below!*

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[ANIME] Recorder & Randsell


It’s been sooo long since I’ve watched any anime, but I’ve decided to get back on the bangwagon. I unearthed my Crunchyroll username and password and logged on to see what I’m been missing. I’ve missed quite a bit. As a result, I have a long queue list! First anime completed is a super-duper short one…each episode is just THREE minutes long, I kid you not!
Without further adieu,

Recorder & Randsell (2012)

13 Episodes

Synopsis:

On the surface it seems as if Atsushi is an adult, but really he's just an elementary student! However, he is paired with a second-year high school student Atsumi, whose height is just the opposite of his. These two together create an unusual relationship and will undoubtedly instigate some comedic antics in this slice of life comedy!

My Thoughts/Review:

This was incredibly adorable. It’s a very lighthearted comedy, that perfect for whenever you have a few minutes (3 to be exact) to spare and are in need of a laugh. Atsushi and Atsumi are so cute, and their problematic heights are the source for countless jokes. Some of the running jokes may have been repetitive, but I still found them amusing. This one is definitely worth watching.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Personal Taste/Preference (2010) - Korean Drama

Personal Taste/Preference

2010 - Kdrama
Romantic Comedy
16 Episodes


Synopsis:

Personal Taste is a drama, which is based on a novel "Gaeinui Chwihyang" by Lee Sae In. The story is about a man pretending to be homosexual in order to become roommates with a woman who wants to live with a gay male friend. Jeon Jin Ho (Lee Min Ho) is a straight guy who pretends to be gay in order to become a roommate to his female friend, Park Kae In (Son Ye Jin). His hobbies include organization and ironing, and he’s known for his stoic poker face.

Review:

^___^ Ahhh...Personal Taste.

This was a GOOD one. I've been meaning to watch this for a long time, but I kept putting it off. After watching City Hunter, I wanted MORE Lee Min Ho, so I finally got around to it.

What I've been missing all this time--is a pretty good drama. Personal Taste had all of the makings of a good drama. It has an interesting, original plot, a great cast of lovable and believable characters, strong, pure chemistry and love between the lead couple and tons of hilarious moments. For 16 episodes, I laughed, smiled, teared-up, snorted, rolled my eyes and cried. The OST was also really good!

Yet there was still something missing throughout. My main issue is that the pacing was really slow.  I found myself fast forwarding quite a bit about half way through as the series kind of lost its steam. While I will not miss the series itself, I WILL miss Jin Ho and Kae In.

Personal Taste is a drama that I really enjoyed and believe to be worth watching.

P.S. The BEST place for watching dramas, is over at Viki.com. Users can leave comments as they watch. It's like watching with your friends--crazy, very unique friends! The comments are usual hysterical and totally random!

Here's the link: Get your taste of Min Ho here!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heartstrings (2011) – Korean Drama

 Heartstrings

15 episodes + 1 special (2011)
Korean Drama
Romantic, Music

Synopsis:

Lee Shin is a university student majoring in modern music. He is also the vocalist and guitarist of the band "The Stupid." Shin is known for his good looks and strong passion for music, but in reality he is cold, lacks interest in anything unrelated to music and has neither dreams nor plans for the future. He initially likes Jung Yoon Soo, a dance professor at university, but this all changes when he meets Lee Kyu Won.

Lee Kyu Won is a bright and outgoing student who was born into a prestigious family and is majoring in traditional Korean instruments, especially the gayageum. Kyu Won's grandfather, Lee Dong Gun, is one of the top 3 traditional musicians of his age and his biggest wish is to see his granddaughter become a traditional music prodigy. Trying to live up to her grandfather's expectations, Kyu Won immerses herself in training and becomes a university student who knows nothing outside of her studies. As her friends are fans of "The Stupid", she was forced to go to the band's concert with them. There she saw Lee Shin performing live, and is immediately captivated by him.

Review:

I’m totally shallow, I admit, especially when it comes to my fave pretty korean boys. I decided to watch Heartstrings because I love love love Jung Yong Hw!. I first fell in love with him in “You’re Beautiful”, then I fell in love with his band CN Blue.

I think it’s lovely that Shin Woo (Yong Hwa) and Mi Nam (Shin Hye) from “You’re Beautiful” got a chance to star in their own romance! 

So, Heartstrings…. I like the characters. Yong Hwa plays his role as Lee Shin, a student majoring in Western Music very well. At the same though..it’s sort of who he is in real life, so I don’t think we can attribute much to his acting skills. That is NOT to say, I did not love his role and how he portrayed it..I DID! Lee Kyu Won was meh… I liked her A LOT more in “You’re Beautiful”. She does okay in Heartstrings, still pretty cute and did a okay-pretty good job acting. The character I really loved though was Cha Bo Woon, Kyu Won’s BFF4EVER! She was so adorably funny and such a great friend--always interrupting Lee Shin and Kyu Won’s couple moments and getting punished as a result by Shin! LOL

As this is a Music drama, we have to talk about the soundtrack. It’s pretty obvious what I think of it..it’s CN BLue’s Yong Hwa, after all! The soundtrack was GREAT! I really loved it. I paid more attention to the performances than to the plot to be honest.

The plot was a simple one…Music school, a performance, some jealousy, attempts to sabotage said performance etc etc Yet, I found myself fast forwarding..A LOT. In addition to the performance scenes, only parts I didn’t fast forward were the romantic scenes.

Overall, I give Heartstrings a "good" rating. While the soundtrack was Amazing, it alone cannot make a drama. Problem is that I can’t quite put my finger on what was lacking…the drama simply didn’t leave much of a lasting impression. I don’t have the feeling of lose one usually feels after a great drama and I certainly don’t see myself re-watching it a million times in the near future.

**Love CN Blue too? Leave your favorite song in the comments!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Down With Love (2010) - Taiwanese Drama

Down with Love

2010 - Taiwanese

16 episodes




Synopsis:

Shiang Yu Ping, a divorce and inheritance lawyer, is seen by others as cold, selfish, and ruthless. He had taken in his brother's orphans and was in need of a nanny. But after he exhausted his supply of nannies, he still couldn't find one who doesn't fall in love with him or gets scared off by the kids. Fed up, Yu Ping asks his secretary, Yang Duo, to find a nanny that meets his requirements. She recommends her younger sister, Yang Guo, for the job; assuring Yu Ping that her tomboyish sister will not fall in love with him by lying that she does not like men at all.

Review:

What I loved most about this drama was the lead couple! Yang Guo and Yu Ping were the one of the cutest couples I've seen. I loved watching the two of them together. I also loved the side characters, especially Yang Guo's family , her sister and father. This drama would have gotten a "very good" rating if not for the dang ending! It was HORRIBLY done, essentially false advertising (you'll know what I mean after watching, but keep the image above in mind)! The rest of the series was so well done and then to botch it up so much at the very very end was kind of unforgivable! :/ 

**Did you love Yang Gui and Yu Ping as much as I did?! Do your gushing in the comments! I'll join you! xD

[Book Review] The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series, Book 1)

James Dashner


Blurb:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recolection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is empty.
But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.


Just like Thomas, the Gladers don's know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark.


The Gladers were expecting Thomas' arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up- the first girl ever to arrive at the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home... wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the Maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers- if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.


Review:

"The Maze Runner" has been on my to-read list for quite a while. I am so glad that I finally got the chance to give it a try! I truly enjoyed this novel. What this one has going for it is an intricate plot filled with the perfect balance of suspense. It has been a long time since I last read a novel that hooked me, kept me on the end of my seat with my heart beating violently, as much as this one had. From page one, I was anxious about the fate of Tommy and the gang. The ending especially is an effective one for a trilogy. I cannot believe how much I feel the NEED to read the sequel. I mean it's 10 minutes before my local library closes and I'm VERY tempted to run out and go get "The Scorch Trials"! My only complaint about this novel is that it needs more fully developed characters. It would have been nice for Newt, Teresa and Minho to be more developed as characters and for readers to have been able to truly get into their and Thomas' heads. Overall, "The Maze Runner" was worthy of staying up late to finish! :-)


** Enjoyed the Maze Runner series? Abhorred it? Liked the Hunger Games exponentially better? Leave your rants in the comments!

[Book Review] Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

By: Ransom Riggs






Blurb:  

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Review:

Oh Riggs....why do this to me?

This book captured my attention because of the photographs--the intriguing, creepy, and well, peculiar photographs. The amateur photographer in me was giddy with excitement at the prospect of a great story told around these photographs. For that Riggs does a very good job. The images are very carefully and appropriately placed and the visuals really add more depth to the story. 

I enjoyed Riggs simplistic, but effective writing style, BUT (you knew it was coming) what the heck happened about half way through? For the first 150 pages or so, the suspense, tension and mysterious creep factor were captivatingly balanced, but then readers are handed a sparknotes version, giving all of the answers in one swoop. With all the mystery...demystified, the rest of the novel sort of plopped. I found myself speed reading just to see how it would end. Overall, it was a good try and I will still most likely purchase and read the sequel to find out the end of Miss P's peculiars and to see more of the amazing photographs. 

**Read Miss P's Home for Peculiar Children? Leave your thoughts in the comments! ^__^

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Love Keeps Going (2011) - Taiwanese Drama

Love Keeps Going

Taiwanese Drama
2011 - 13 Episodes

Synopsis: 

A story of an egotistic guy meeting a girl who aimed to please. A casual comment from her boyfriend on wishing to open a bakery store of their own caused Mei Le to immediately abandon her lucrative job in fiance to pursuit a career in baking bread. But, her boyfriend still dumped her for someone else anyway. Her breakup directly impacted Han Yi Lie. First, her cheating boyfriend was his brother. Second, he worked better after eating her bread and couldn't function when she stopped baking it. So he decided to help her get over the unfortunate event.   


Review:

Ahh..Mike He..How I looves you! lol I haven't watched T-dramas in a while, but after watching "Drunken to Love You", I started missing Mike He something fierce as it was weird seeing Rainie and Kingone, but no Mike! So I went hunting for some newer series starring Mike He and lo and behold, I found "Love Keeps Going".

I really enjoyed this one. To begin with, the love between Mike He and Cyndi Wang is so authentic. This isn't the funny, fluffy, playful love stories you usually see in romantic comedies. Instead, it is a real love strengthened by adversity and near tragedy.

Speaking of adversities and tragedies, the plot was very well scripted and totally sucks you in. The characters are all well-developed and are "real" people on screen--some you love (like Yi Fe and Yu Cheng), some you hate (like Mother Han and the manager) and the really special ones that you at first hate, but then come to love (Xuan Xuan).

The soundtrack was okay, nothing spectacular (not like City Hunter's. God, I loved the soundtrack for that!), but it wasn't horrid.

The only small downside that I can think of is the very ending. I think things were wrapped up a little too neatly, too quickly. One more episode would have probably been perfect. Also, I hate the fact that the series ended without showing Mike's face! I won't say any more and risk giving spoilers, but it was just a bit upsetting! lol

Overall, Love Keeps Going  is a definite must watch. Worth 13 hours of your precious life! SO, what are you waiting for? GO WATCH IT! Look, I'm even making it easy and providing a link.


Until next time,
Tuma

P.S. Already watched "Love Keeps Going" or want to recommend a drama I totally need to watch? Leave a comment!

P.P.S. Expect a ton load of reviews in the near future. Two weeks left in semester. Just need to survive..and make it to summer break, then I'm home free to BINGE on dramas! I have a LOOONG "To Watch" list! ^____^

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wild Romance (2011) Korean Drama

Wild Romance
Korean Drama
16 Episodes - 2012

Synopsis: Everything starts on the birthday of Eun Jae's dad. Eun Jae ran into Park Moo Yul, who is the 2nd baseman of 'Green Dreamers', when she is drunk. Eun Jae who is a fan of 'Blue Seagulls', starts a fight with Moo Yul who led the 'Green Dreamers' to victory. The next day, internet is on fire with the video called 'Humiliated Park Moo Yul'. Because of this video, career of both Moo Yul and Eun Jae, who recently got a job as a bodyguard, are in danger.

In the end, they decided to put on a show against the public! They lie that Eun Jae is Moo Yul's private bodyguard and the video was recorded when Eun Jae was giving a self-defence demonstration to Moo Yul. Like this, Eun Jae becomes real bodyguard of Moo Yul. It seemed like everything worked out just fine, but the problem is that they can't stand each other's existence...


My Review: I really enjoyed this one! It didn't end up being anything like I was expected.

From the synopsis, I thought it would be a nice, funny fluff series, but man does it get crazy as you keep watching!

And the lead couple is sooo flippin adorable, and I loved the second minor couple too!

Definitely worth a watch!

City Hunter (2011) - Korean Drama


City Hunter
Korean Drama
20 Episodes - 2011

Synopsis: The story takes place in Seoul, 2011. Lee Yoon Sung is a talented MIT-graduate who works on the international communications team in the Blue House. He plans revenge on five politicians who caused his father's death with his surrogate father Lee Jin Pyo and eventually becomes a "City Hunter."


My Review:

This was a reallly good one! I put off watching it cause I wasn't in the mood for an action-y drama, but man was it worth waiting for! It had everything a girl could ask for...handsome leads, really developed characters who had six different sides to them, awesome action scenes that had you holding your breathe or cringing, angsty romance that made you go through two boxes of kleenex and har-har comic relief scenes.

And did I mention the AMAAAAZING soundtrack? No, well it is. Amazing, I mean! One of best I've heard in a drama yet and I've watch alot of dramas! I mean this is one of those OST, that you just have to download. If for no other reason than for therapeutic purpose. You know that feeling you get after finishing a really great drama? One you've spent the past few months following anxiously and religiously? The feeling of being lost? Of thinking, 'shit, what will I occupy my time with now? That bittersweet feeling after spending 20 episodes falling in love with characters, just to be forced to say goodbye? Having the OST totally helps! There is almost nothing more moving than auditory memory. You will find yourself smiling involuntary for some tracks, tearing up in response to others, feeling giddy, excited...happy, at peace! ^___^

My only "meh" was for the very very end...which I felt was pretty unsatisfying. It just left you with a "wait? that's it? What happens to them now?" kinda of feeling, which sucks, cause there's no other way to know what happens next...unless there's a sequel! Overall, a DEFINITE must watch. I'll even make it easy for you and provide a link to go watch IMMEDIATELY!

Watch "Shitty Hunter" (viki insider) here!

Baby Faced Beauty (2011) - Korean Drama

Baby Faced Beauty
Korean Drama
20 Episodes - 2011

Synopsis: The story of Lee So Young, a 34-year-old woman who's saddled with family debt and only has a high school qualifications, but dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Her youthful appearance is her only advantage; she is mistaken for a 25-year-old university graduate and subsequently lands her dream job when she's hired by a fashion design company, where she meets Choi Jin Wook, a man who looks more mature than his young age.


My Review: Oh man! This was so damn adorable!!

It dragged a bit (not too much) and I found myself fast forwarding in some places, but the relationship between So Young and Jun Uk was just too cute for me to not watch til the end.

I especially liked the ending. It's been a while since I've seen an ending that was as satisfying. I love the whole '1 year later' gambit. It allows you to see how the characters you've just spent 20 eps falling in love with (and fall I did!) end up. Too often, you get a drama that ends vaguely, leaving you with a "so what happens to em now" feeling, which I hate.

Overall, this is worth watching simply for the dynamic between Soo Young and Jun Uk! They were like high school children with first crushes. Totally adorbs! ^__^

Drunken to Love You (T-Drama 2011)

Drunken to Love You
Taiwanese Drama
18 Episodes - 2011

Synopsis: 

Two strangers, both proposed marriage to their respective girl/boyfriend, were rejected on the same day. They decided that the best way to deal with the rejection was to get drunk, real drunk. During the 24 hours of their crazy drunkenness, these two stranger became fast friends and got married... to each other. When they finally sobered up, they embarked on a mission to undo every crazy thing they did while they were drunk and prayed that their girl/boyfriend wouldn't find out. However, it turns out that Jie Xiu's girlfriend, Ai Wei, doesn't want a scandal affecting her movie so she asks him to stay married to Xiao Ru for three months.

My Review:  

This one is somewhere between average and good. The series was about 6 episodes too long and filled with absolutely silly plot points, which shifts the rating closer to 'average'. BUT, Rainie and Joseph!! They had amazing chemistry and their couple scenes were so damn cute, I could die! There was also a lot of really funny scenes. Rainie and Joseph are the only thing that kept me watching til the end, though I fast forwarded through so much of it (watching all 18 eps in just about 24 hours). A Must Watch simply for the cutest couple of Taiwanese Drama History!!!! LOL

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Black and White (2009)–Taiwanese Drama

It’s been way too long I know. I have such a long list of dramas to write reviews for, but I’ll get to them eventually. Today, let’s talk about my new two favorite buddies—Pi Zi, the Ruffian and Ying Xiong, the Hero.

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Title: 痞子英雄 / Pi Tzu Ying Hsiung (Pi Zi Ying Xiong)
English title: Black & White
Genre: Police, action
Episodes: 24
Broadcast period: 2009-Apr-11 to 2009-Jun-27
Download: http://myac.asia/tw-drama-black-and-white-2009/
 
Synopsis: Pi Zi and Ying Xiong are two cops who are as different as day and night. One does nothing except for drinking coffee and living a luxurious lifestyle while waiting for information from dubious sources to crack his cases. Another believes law and justice are the pillars of society and is constantly on the street catching criminals… a little overzealously for his superior’s liking. When a case brought these two top crime solvers together, sparks flied and a little light peeked into this dark city where the nation’s President is on friendly terms with the local triad and twins kill people while drinking milkshake.

My Review: This. Drama. Was. Amazing! Black and White has been on my To Watch list for so damn long and I’ve been kicking my own butt for waiting so long to finally get around to watching it. I’ve been putting it off because it’s not like my typical Romantic Comedy, but boy am I glad I took the plunge and watched this. Black and White isn’t your typical crime drama. From episode one, it grabs you tightly by the collar and doesn’t let you go as you, with the help of Pi Zi and Ying Xiong, struggle to solve a crime that it a lot bigger than it looks and to survive.

The Characters in this drama are diverse and all equally captivating. The relationship between the three leads is very powerful to the overall storyline, but the supporting characters are also just as important. Each one plays such a vital part that the drama would definitely not be what it is without them. I especially love how much Pi Zi and Ying Xiong need and balance one another, despite their vast differences.

The Plot is the best one I’ve seen in any Asian drama that I’ve watched. What I liked best about this drama is the lack of dramatic irony (technique in which audience knows something that the characters do not). I felt a stronger emotional connection while watching this drama because of the fact that the clues were revealed to me as they were revealed to the characters. I felt that I was also cast into the role of a fellow officer and helping to solve the crime. The countless twists and turns in the plot were masterfully placed to keep viewers hooked (like a 2 dollar hoe on crack). Just as I thought I knew what was going on and who was responsible, I get slapped in the face with a “That’s what you think! This story isn’t finished yet”. Another great thing about the drama was the build-up and suspense. They managed to provide the perfect amount, not too much in which you begin to lose interest, but just enough to have you holding your breathe from beginning to end, just enough to have your hand tremble just a bit as you move to click on to the next episode, just enough for you to cry and smile bittersweet smiles because it’s not all over quite yet.

The Soundtrack wasn’t anything special but then again I don’t think a good soundtrack is very necessary in an action drama like this one.

Overall, Black and White deserves to be number uno on your Must Watch list. Don’t put off watching this one like I did…. What are you waiting for? Get to it!

P.S. For those of you who have already watched it, what did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments! :)

See you again soon,
Tuma