May 2024 Quickie Reviews

may 2024 BREAKDOWN
  • 20 films/series total (not including Hallmark films)
  • 7 foreign films/series
  • 13 re-watches
  • 3 tv series

Biggest Disappointment: None

Lovely Runner

Favorite Discovery: Lovely Runner

Tv Series

Brokenwood Mysteries Season 10 – Though I continue to enjoy this show, new seasons don’t really add much new exploration in the realms of character or plot development. Although I find that disappointing, it’s not enough to turn me off the series altogether.

Harry Wild Season 3 – I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve come to look forward to watching this Jane Seymour starring vehicle. This season spices it up with the addition of a new character who is both a competitor and potential love interest for Harry and I’m loving their fiery, sarcastic exchanges.

Rewatches – Endeavour

Foreign Films & Series

Forever Love (2021) – This campus romance reminds me of a sweeter version of Lighter and Princess with a troubled, tech genius hero who is smitten with a smart, but spoiled daughter of protective parents. There are other similarities, but the biggest difference is the tone, especially once the male lead becomes the doting, loving boyfriend. I love how the heroine encourages and holds him accountable to do and be better and also how she stands by her choice even when things get hard. Even though her mother is adamantly opposed to them, they get a lot of support from their circle of friends and his family. The fact that this is a sweet romance makes it enjoyable, but nowhere near as memorable as L&P, which is much more compelling in story and character development.

Moonlight (2021) – I’m always a fan of any story that focuses on books and this one features one of my favorite settings, a publishing house. This romantic drama also boasts beautiful aesthetics; with most scenes sporting a soft golden glow or rosy tint to them. Because many series shy away from flawed leads, I really appreciate that the hero-writer is imperfect; immature, self-centered and petty, yet also likeable and vulnerable. The contentious relationship between him and his father who is also a famous author adds another layer to the male lead’s character development and growth.  I’ve seen this actor in a few other dramas and this is one of his best roles. He also displays a cute, bickering chemistry with co-star Esther Yu.  It was so fun to watch her take him down a peg or two every time he acts arrogant and vain. She really had a great role as the heroine who is a very strong, sensible and shrewd character. However, her child-like voice and cutesy act wears thin in very short time and undermines the character. It presents a strong dichotomy which is hard to overcome as a viewer, but overall worth the effort. The second lead couple added a counterpoint with some experience and maturity. I especially enjoyed the bromance between the two men who were as close as brothers and yet very competitive.

Like Flowers in the Sand (2023) –  An unassuming slice of life drama with an underdog story that won me over with its’ thoughtful and methodical approach to story telling and character development.  The male lead is a ssireum wrestler who is just the most precious, pure-hearted character I’ve seen on screen in a long time. I loved his loyalty and generous nature towards others, and yet he has dogged determination when he makes up his mind about something. His career introduced me to a sport I was unaware of and which reminded me of bulls locking horns. Another strong draw of this series is the small community setting and the relationships of the various villagers which feel pretty realistic; some contentious, some close, and all of them complex. This is definitely a feel good drama worth watching.

Flex X Cop (2024) – One thing Korean dramas tend to do well is creating and developing “found family” relationships on screen. This cop dramedy is no exception in its’ portrayal of a spoiled heir who after joining a group of skilled detectives finds the place he belongs. The earlier episodes contain most of the humor as the show progresses in seriousness as it unravels the past tragedy of the male lead. It is rather touching to watch the friendship that develops between the heir and his female boss as the slowly discover their intertwined past. I am soooo glad, the writers allowed them to be friends and didn’t force a romance, although I wouldn’t mind a slow burn if there are further seasons. The characterization is exceptionally well done and drew me in immediately. The various crimes the team solve vary between interesting and forgettable. But overall I found this one entertaining.

Will Love in Spring (2024) – This new Chinese romantic drama generated some buzz and many people really liked it. With a hero who works as a mortician and heroine who is an amputee, the story telling strikes a more serious tone than most, especially as it explores themes of grief and trauma in a way I found was thoughtful and well done.  It also portrays a more realistic and messy romance as the two leads wrestle with their pasts and also how to balance their careers with love.  I’m a fan of lead actor Xian Li and in some ways this reminds me of his previous drama Meet Yourself, which boasts a similar small town setting where the heroine arrives for respite from her busy life in the city. However, after reflection, I didn’t love this one as much as I wanted to. I think it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it is a good show.

Lovely Runner (2024) – A time travelling drama in which a young woman travels back and forth in different time lines in attempts to save the man she loves, this one exceeded my expectations. Aside from the necessary plot device of a killer on the loose to act as a catalyst, everything about this is cute, adorable and utterly squee-worthy. The two leads have fantastic chemistry together and accomplish the tough challenge of believably playing high school and college students as well as adults without drastic appearance alterations. The second male lead trope goes in a surprising and much appreciated direction and the other supporting characters add the most humorous scenes. This is definitely one of my favorite shows so far this year!

Rewatch: Love Like the Galaxy

Post 1980’s

Rewatches – The Big Year, Something to Talk About, First Wives Club, Emma (1996), The Greatest Showman, Only You, Emma (2009), Anna and the King, Sabrina, Young Victoria, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Hallmark: Shifting Gears, Groundswell, Family Practice Mysteries, Chronicle Mysteries Helped to Death

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