February 2023 Quickie Reviews

February 2023 BREAKDOWN
  • 15 films/series total (not including Hallmark films)
  • 2 TV series
  • 9 foreign films/series
  • 1 re-watch

Biggest Disappointment: The King: Eternal Monarch

Favorite Discovery: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Television Series

All Creatures Great and Small Season 3 – Awww, this series is just like a warm, cozy hug. Good progression was made on various story lines and character arcs, such as Mrs. Hall’s relationship with her son and  her male friend, Tristan and Seigfried’s relationship, and the early days of Jim & Helen’s marriage. Tristan’s character shows some major growth this season. I just love this show so much!

Miss Scarlet and the Duke Season 3 – What a disappointing season. There wasn’t really any forward movement in terms of plot development or even character development of our leads. I enjoyed seeing Eliza’s nemesis again, but sorely missed the presence of “the Duke” in several episodes. The last episode almost redeemed the whole season for me though as I loved seeing Eliza and Duke working together on a case along with my favorite Moses and Eliza’s nemesis Detective Nash

Foreign films & series

Ghost Doctor (2022) – I’m always up for a good bromance and the reviews for this fantasy medical drama sold me on this basis. I did enjoy the rapport between Rain and Kim Bum who played the arrogant but expert cardiologist ghost and the affable, talented young resident who is too scared to operate. Kim Bum is always a favorite of mine with his mischievous characters and was the highlight of the show for me. The romance arcs were pretty weak and in fact, one of them really dragged the pacing down. But the side characters were interesting and received ample screen time and character development. A pleasant watch, but I doubt it is one that will stick in my memory.

You Are My Spring (2021) – I’m a fan of actress Seo Hyun Jin which helped me stay tuned in despite a slow start. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to hook me in to this mash up rom-com/suspense/healing drama. Very few series are able to make this mix of genres work, but somehow this one did, even through the transitions.  The romance between Seo Hyun Jin’s traumatized hotel concierge and her psychiatrist love interest developed naturally and in such a sweetly innocent way. The supporting characters were also given their moments to shine with good character development. I really loved seeing their friendly interactions with each other within their friendship circles. I was especially entertained by Nam Gyu Ri, who plays the actress ex-wife of the male lead who befriends his new girlfriend/female lead. She was a hoot!

The King: Eternal Monarch (2020) – I had to force myself to finish this one. Initially, this story about alternate but parallel worlds started out strong and really captured my attention, Half way through it really started to drag. I wasn’t feeling the romance at all. It didn’t make sense why the two leads would fall so hard, so fast. But there is a lot about this one that doesn’t make sense. And I’m not talking about the lapse in logic around the  time/space travel they do. There are big gaps in the story logic and even some of the character development. I like actor Lee Min Ho, but his character he King was not all that interesting. And I am really not a fan of Kim Go Eun. Her cop heroine starts out strong, but then just becomes a weepy, emotional female, although thankfully, she never fully morphs into a damsel in distress. The supporting characters were really one of the main strengths of this series as well as the really glossy production values. Sadly, even though it came wrapped in a pretty package, it didn’t have much substance.

The Law Cafe (2022) – Despite mediocre reviews, this law rom-com was entertaining with a charm of its own. It had a great heroine who is compassionate, brave, daring but also flawed. The bickering between her and the  male lead who were long time friends really added a lot of spark and humor in the first half of the series. Once they finally get together the pacing slows down and the tone gets a bit more serious. I LOVED the neighborhood family they form, especially the older ladies who treat the Law Cafe like their personal entertainment platform. And one of my favorite supporting actors portrays the  villain in this fascinating, chaotic way. He’s definitely going on my list of best antagonists.

The Greatest Love (2011) – The famous Hong sisters who generally write supernatural/fantasy dramas, give their take on celebrity culture and the power of image as currency in this rom-com. A conceited arrogant superstar with a good boy image falls for a D-list female singer  with a bad reputation who is actually the opposite of her reputation. The first several episodes are laugh out loud funny due to their bickering, misunderstanding and general dislike of each other. Both of the main characters have some extreme personality characteristics which began to grate on me by the end. The heroine in particular was such a self-sacrificing saint that it annoyed me because she never stood up for herself, instead choosing to suffer in silence. However, their growth together was sweet. They also had a pretty sexy kiss through a car window. I also experienced major second lead syndrome thanks to the  very well written second male character. He was almost too good to be true.

W Two Worlds (2016) – What a mind-bending,, unpredictable ride this was. I found the plot about a comic book character who takes on a life of his own and has a Matrix like experience where he breaks free of the control of his creator was so fascinating. The daughter of the comic writer gets deeply involved in his journey forming a very close relationship with him and is integral to his awakening. This one kept me on my toes, trying to guess what would happen next. The timeline and the characters didn’t follow any logical, linear patterns. I loved the relationship that developed between the two leads, particularly that the female lead was the one pursuing the hero, but in a non-aggressive way. Lee Jong Suk as the hero was the best part of the whole series. His character was so well written, and I especially loved how cheeky he could be.  I would definitely be willing to watch this one again

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2017) – If sunshine and rainbows could be it’s own show, this would be it. This coming of age drama is absolutely adorable! I honestly doubted that a story revolving around a female weight lifter could hold my interest, but Lee Sung Kyung does such a great job portraying the vulnerability, awkwardness and sheer lovability of our title character. The friends to lovers romance that she develops with her childhood friend is all kinds of cute. Nam Joo Hyuk plays the male lead like an overgrown puppy who just lavishes all his attention on her, first in friend mode and then later on in a more romantic way. Her circle of friends are #friendgoals with their honesty and unconditional support. There is literally nothing I did not like about this sweet series.

Hi Venus (2022) – I found this sweet little Chinese romance series on YouTube. It’s a fairly simple story about a working class doctor who is pursued by the president of her hospital. The male lead is very kind and well-adjusted despite being raised with wealth and status. The female doctor was a little less emotionally balanced due to her father’s early death and lower middle class status.  But they both come across as normal people who face fairly normal obstacles  in their lives and relationship.

Go Back Couple (2017) – A poignantly told tale of a couple who were once very in love, but who are on the brink of divorce due to life circumstances and an inability to understand each other. The two get the chance to rediscover their love after traveling back in time to when they first met.  The two leads are so great at expressing the angst and misery as well as the buried feelings of love that occur after years of misunderstanding. It was interesting that when the travel back in time, she never stops thinking of herself as a mom and middle aged woman where as he instantly reverts back to the thinking and behavior of a twenty year old college kid. But this isn’t just about the romance it also explores family and friend relationships and the impact each of those can have in our lives even if they aren’t long lasting.  This won’t be on my favorite drama list, but it will definitely be one I remember. I appreciate the perspective on life it presents.

Post 1980’s

The Road Less Traveled (2017) – A television movie, it seemed to be a showcase for country music singer Lauren Alaina who stars as, get this, a country music singer! It’s the tired old plot of the successful star who returns to her small home town only to run into her ex and reconsider her life. There were some cute moments, mainly with her two best friends. And the story surprised me by not being totally cliche in its’ ending.

P.S. I Love You (2007) – It’s been ages since I saw this sweet yet tear-jerking romance. There was so much I had forgotten about the story. I didn’t love it as much as I remembered in the past.

The Winter Palace (2022) – This felt like a Hallmark movie, which was reinforced by the fact that Danica McKellar played the lead. It’s another of those commoner meets prince stories. It started out okay, but became cringeworthy by the end.

Jesus Revolution (2023) – My first movie theater experience of the year. I didn’t know much about the actual story of the Jesus Revolution that began in the early 70’s, but I thought this film did a pretty good job showing the highlights. It intertwines the stories of a young Greg Laurie who is searching for truth with the beginning of the movement started by hippie preacher Lonnie Frisbee and the more traditional minister Chuck Smith. It took a while for the two stories to merge, but I thought showing Laurie’s individual experience made the influence of the movement seem more personal. It’s great to see The Chosen’s Jonathan Roumie (who plays Jesus) in a different role and Kelsey Grammer did a good job as Chuck Smith.

Hallmark Movies:
Love in Glacier National Park, Cranberry Christmas, Sweeter Than Chocolate, A Paris Proposal, Curious Caterer: Grilling Season, Taking a Shot at Love, Christmas in Rome, My Christmas Love, Welcome to Valentine

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