Tag Archives: DramaFever

Korean Films: Netflix, DramaFever, Viki, May 2017

Ah, the current state of online distribution.

Here’s a look at three major online distributors of Korean films (in the US), and what they’re currently streaming:

(*Please note this is what’s currently streaming in the US; offerings will differ depending on territory.)

Netflix

DramaFever

Viki

2015 Dream Concert

Assassination

The Beauty Inside

The Chronicles Of Evil

The Concubine

The Dino King

The Divine Move

Enemies-In-Law

Eungyo

The Exclusive: Beat The Devil’s Tattoo

For The Emperor

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

A Good Rain Knows

Hope

The Host

The Housemaid

Kundo: Age of the Rampant

Man On High Heels

Manhole

No Tears For The Dead

Northern Limit Line

Oldboy

Pandora

The Pirates

Queen Of The Night

Red Carpet

Sea Fog

The Silenced

Songs From The North

The Tiger

Traffickers

The Treacherous

Train To Busan

The Wailing

A Werewolf Boy

4 Horror Tales

19

20 Once Again

A Fish

Always

Antarctic Journal

After The Banquet

Apartment

Arahan

Architecture 101

The Art Of Seduction

As One

Attack On The Pin-Up Boys

The Attorney

Barbie

The Berlin File

A Better Tomorrow

The Boat

Blood Rain

Bounty Hunters

A Boy Who Went To Heaven

Castaway On The Moon

The Classic

Code Name: Jackal

Dancing Queen

Death Bell

Detective K: Secret Of The Lost Island

Detective K: Secret Of The Virtuous Widow

A Dream Comes True

Driving With My Wife’s Lover

The Face Reader

The Fatal Encounter

Finding Mr. Destiny

The Flu

Fly, Daddy, Fly

Forbidden Quest

Friend 2

A Friend In Need

The Front Line

Gangnam Blues

Girlfriends

Going By The Book

GROW: Infinite’s Real Youth Life

The Happy Life

Harmony

He Was Cool

The Heaven Is Only Open To The Single

Heaven’s Postman

Heaven’s Soldiers

Hellcats

Helpless

Hindsight

Hot Young Bloods

The Huntresses

Hwang Jin Yi (2007)

I AM

I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK

The King And The Clown

Lady Daddy

Late Autumn

The Legend Of Seven Cutter

Les Formidables

Lifting King Kong

Like For Likes

Little Black Dress

Love Forecast

Love Me Not

Love On Air

Lump Of Sugar

M

Masquerade

May 18

A Millionaire On The Run

Miss Granny

Modern Boy

A Moment To Remember

Monopoly

Monster

Muoi: The Legend Of A Portrait

Once Upon A Time In High School

Our Town

Over The Border

Paradise

Parallel Life

Penny Pinchers

A Perfect Match

Please Teach Me English

The President’s Barber

Private Eye

Punch

Pure Love

R2B: Return To Base

The Recipe

The Relation Of Face, Mind And Love

Riverbank Legends

Romantic Island

Runway Cop

Sa Kwa

Salut d’Amour

Second Half

Secretly Greatly

Silenced

Spellbound

Stateless Things

Steal My Heart

The Suicide Forecast

The Suspect

Tale Of Cinema

Tazza 2: The Hidden Card

The Technicians

The Thieves

Time Renegades

Top Star

Tough As Iron

Triangle (2009)

Twenty

Two Faces Of My Girlfriend

The Unjust

Vampire Cop Ricky

Vegetarian

Venus Talk

Very Ordinary Couple

War Of The Arrows

A Werewolf Boy

Whatcha Wearin’?

When Spring Comes

The Witness

A Wonderful Moment

Aimless Bullet

Alice: Boy From Wonderland

Alone

As One

Because I Love You

Black House

The Boys Who Cried Wolf

Dancing Queen

Deranged

Dongju: Portrait Of A Poet

The Divine Weapon

Fasten Your Seatbelt

February 29

Finding Mr. Destiny

Ghost House

Glove

Going By The Book

Good Morning Mr. President

The Happy Life

Harmony

Helpless

Howling

I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK

The King & The Clown

Kinship

Late Autumn

Little Black Dress

Life Risking Romance

Love Forecast

A Millionaire On The Run

My Scary Girl

Mother And A Guest

No Mercy

Once Upon A Time In High School

Open City

Over My Dead Body

Penny Pinchers

Perfect Number

Private Eye

Project 577

Proof Of Innocence

Public Enemy Returns

Punch

The Recipe

Righteous Ties

Runway Cop

Secret

Seong Chun Hyang

The Servant

Shadows In The Palace

Silenced

Sori: Voice From The Heart

Spellbound

The Suicide Forecast

Sunny

Takeoff 2

The Unjust

The Wedding Day

A Werewolf Boy

Whatcha Wearin’?

Will You Be There?

A Wonderful Moment

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Why Is Korean Media So Critical Of Its Celebrities?

Scandal. \ˈskan-dəl\. Noun. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong.”

Used within the context of South Korean media, however, eh, it’s more along the lines of:

Scandal: Anything that can be harshly criticized or deemed in a negative light in any way. Examples include: legal gambling, drinking, and dating (!?).  [Read the Korean version of this post here (한국어).]

Heirs, a television drama [Photo: http://couch-kimchi.com/2013/10/05/heirs-poster-woo-bin-stills-bts-and-other-goodies-to-tide-us-till-the-premiere/}
Heirs, a television drama [Photo: http://couch-kimchi.com/2013/10/05/heirs-poster-woo-bin-stills-bts-and-other-goodies-to-tide-us-till-the-premiere/}
my love from another star poster
Popular kdrama My Love From Another Star.

From the looks of things, entertainment in South Korea is doing pretty well. There’s the barrage of super(-duper) pop groups and their music videos, the addictive television dramas, the fashion icons, and booming film industry; things look free-spirited, fun, and, well – thriving.

BIGBANG performs onstage. [Photo: http://www.hancinema.net/korean-group-big-bang-performs-at-singapore-formula-1-33884.html%5D

And so is the culture of tabloid and celebrity infotainment. Recent feature film, Tabloid Truth (2014), explores the dark side of media sensationalism.


If you look at the production output, things may seem liberal, but South Korea, compared to other countries, still leans conservative (hey, they still ban songs, monitor the web and decry bad posture over there).  The nation’s culture stands upon traditional tenets of respect and filial piety. The way people speak to each other reflect a long-standing history of deeply embedded cultural honorifics (hello, Confucian-influenced cultures of Asia). 

But why are Korean media outlets so critical of their celebrities? (Not to mention the sometimes disturbing fanbase, but that’s another story.) Stars do, either directly or indirectly, promote the nation’s culture, language, entertainment, and economy, on an international scale.

[Photo: http://musicbookingagency.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/finding-celebrity-contact-information/]

Celebs, by definition, live incredibly public lives. It seems, though, the harder they get glorified, the more severely they might be berated – especially with today’s transparency. Everything they do is in the spotlight – their music, acting, clothes, even their weight – all heavily criticized in the media. (And yes, I’m sure celebs knowingly sacrifice their chances at having a plebeian life.)

But news sources take it to another level, prodding a bit too deeply into personal lives (even indigestion makes headlines) and admonishing celebs rather quickly. I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. Why so sensitive? Does it really help newsstand sales or website traffic?

Sure, South Korea has undergone a lot in the last century. (Dictatorship, military rule, civil war, a nation divided, industrial boom, emergence of the Korean Wave of entertainment, did I mention a nation divided? Serious stuff.) It’s a liberal, maturing democracy of Asia now, but sensitivities still abound. There’s still anti-Japanese sentiment. There’s still a conventional attitude towards what’s acceptable in society in popular culture, whether it be pop song lyrics or politically charged artwork.

2010 film The Man From Nowhere. [Photo: IMDB]
2010 film The Man From Nowhere. [Photo: IMDB]

Is it culturally struggling to catch up with its creative freedoms? Things like music and television, after all, are forms of artistic expression. A thriving entertainment industry is testament to that.

Take, for instance, some so-called scandals that made headlines in Korean media:

[Photo: DramaFever]
Park Bom, from kpop group 2NE1. [Photo: DramaFever]
  • Park Bom’s drug smuggling controversy: in June, the singer from Kpop supergroup 2NE1 was rumored to have smuggled amphetamines – which she had been legally prescribed in the US – into Korea (where they are illegal) – back in 2010. People really cared about this? I mean, it happened four years ago, and legal authorities apparently already addressed it back then? It prompted her departure from the reality show Roommate and a backlash of criticism online.  And then a subsequent buzz questioning her age. Yikes. (Sidenote: why did this come out four years late, anyway?)
  • Actors Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun (co-stars in this year’s hit kdrama, My Love From Another Star) were hit by negative critics after endorsing a Chinese mineral water brand.  Because the brand gave the impression that its water source was from a mountain that was completely Chinese territory (but was split into Chinese and Korean territory in 1962), it caused a major upset. 
    lee-min-ho kpopstarz
    Lee Min Ho, Actor. [Photo: Kpopstarz]
  • Popular actor Lee Min Ho (Heirs) was in New Zealand and happened to stop by a casino. And gambled. Legally. Something to the tune of a few dollars.  And that’s a scandal. (Seriously?) What’s the crime, you say? Gambling is viewed negatively, and if you’re a celeb, you’re going to hear about it. And then have to subsequently explain yourself. Probably repeatedly. 
  • Baekhyun, from EXO-K. [Photo: Pinterest]
    Baekhyun, from EXO-K. [Photo: Pinterest]
    And then there’s dating (see second definition of ‘scandal’ above).  A simple meeting between two people sparks tabloid fanfare and dating rumors. Happens everywhere, right?   Baekhyun, member of kpop boy group EXO-K, was revealed to be dating (also a Girls Generation songstress) Taeyeon.  He even apologized. For dating. I repeat, FOR DATING. Sigh. Fans were so ticked off they resorted to calling him ‘traitor’ at a live broadcast music program, and even demanded that he get booted from the group.  (Why such vitriol? And by fans, nonetheless.) 
  • What’s next? Not recycling?

Perhaps it’s the stalker-lengths to which some reporters (and fans) will go that’s at fault. Or the public’s insatiety for the intimate details surrounding their stars. 

What’s a rising star to do? Hope the paparazzi eventually gives up on them? 

Pop group BEAST performs on the live music show Inkigayo. [Photo: http://www.soompi.com/2012/08/12/beast-performs-beautiful-night-on-inkigayo-2/]
Pop group BEAST performs on the live music show Inkigayo. [Photo: http://www.soompi.com/2012/08/12/beast-performs-beautiful-night-on-inkigayo-2/%5D

If entertainers still have the capabilities to entertain audiences, who cares? It seems like there’s a bit too much pressure – celebrities are entertainers, actors, who play characters to tell a story. There seems to be a little too much of pushing-onto-a-pedestal action and not enough grounded context. They seem to be relegated more as national representatives on a global scale, their backgrounds scrutinized in the style of politicians’ lives are during an election year.

No one’s perfect.  If you’re just standing by, looking for flaws – you’ll find them eventually.  But then no one will be able to live up to your expectations. (That would be like sabotaging yourself while dating – if you were allowed to date, heh.)

Jessica, from Girls' Generation. [Photo: Soompi]
Jessica, from Girls’ Generation. [Photo: Soompi]

It would seem that rising entertainers would have to go to great lengths not to step on anyone’s toes, lest they upset a major television network, an entertainment agency, or a bevy of fans.  (And if you have a Korean mom, I know, there’s likely criticism enough.)

Navigating the intricate honorifics and complexities of a sensitive culture is a fucking minefield. Props to those who dare accept the challenge.

Korean celebrities: go date like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe just don’t tell anyone about it.  

[http://en.korea.com/blog/enter/k-pop/seungri-dishes-on-some-big-bang-stories-through-tvn%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Ctaxi%E2%80%9D/]
Seungri on TVN’s Taxi. [http://en.korea.com/blog/enter/k-pop/seungri-dishes-on-some-big-bang-stories-through-tvn%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Ctaxi%E2%80%9D/]

Korean media (and fans) need to relax a bit and take it easy on the criticism. Life is short; people are imperfect.  (I realize, in effect, I am criticizing Korean media, and fans, for being too critical. Cue meta jokes.)

MNET's Hot Blood Men, a documentary chronicling the rigorous bootcamp of pop label trainees.
MNET’s Hot Blood Men, a documentary chronicling the harsh bootcamp of pop label trainees.

Celebs battle enough in a volatile, competitive industry – likely the road to get there was sufficiently wrought with hardship, adversity, crippling moments of doubt, insecurity, fear and failures. Maybe they slept in bus stations, or were disowned by family members to follow their dreams. Maybe they almost gave up. Or maybe they did. But for whatever reason, somehow, against all the ludicrous odds of the entertainment gods that be, they pressed on and made it.  All to entertain – you.  They are living proof of a dream.

Rain collage
[Photo: At left: http://sgforums.com/forums/2110/topics/145904, right: Soompi]

(Pictured, above left: a young Jung Ji Hoon, aka Rain. Right: Rain performing at the 2013 MAMA Awards.)