Archive for January, 2011

The Tudors (Series Review)

I watched this whole show over the course of like 3 weeks @_@ and I watched the first 7 episodes over again on my flight back from Korea ^^

Plot: 5/5
The show tends to be broken by season, so there isn’t really an over-arching series plot. I’ll give a rough description of each season for you:

Season 1:
This historically loose but visually lush series toasts the world of the Tudors in the days when King Henry VIII was a handsome and charming 25-year-old with athletic abilities and sexual prowess. The young king indulges his voracious taste for ladies-in-waiting, hangs out with his entourage of nobles and makes momentous political decisions.

That’s the NetFlix breakdown, so it’s kind of vague… Basically season 1 of the show begins near the end of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife who could only produce Princess Mary successfully amongst dozens of still births. He is seduced by the Boleyn family, first Catherine and then her little sister Anne. Anne manages to keep Henry VIII’s attentions exclusively on her while withholding sex. Henry decides to divorce Catherine in favor of Anne and, to accomplish this, makes a break from the Catholic church in Rome. Season 1 ends with the death of Henry’s wicked Cardinal Wolsey.

Season 2
In the second season of the hit series, King Henry VIII secretly has his marriage to Katherine declared invalid and weds Anne Boleyn, prompting the pope to excommunicate the king. Meanwhile, some of Henry’s old friends and allies fall out of favor.

Season 2 is almost entirely about his relationship with Anne Boleyn. Henry first weds, then slowly begins to fall out with his new wife. As Anne becomes more and more overbearing and steers the king to have her political enemies executed Henry meets Lady Jane Seymour. She is the refreshing aspect of his life, eager to help the king back from his bloody path. Anne is arrested and charged with adultery, a capital offense. The season concludes with the execution of his second wife and marriage to Lady Jane.

Season 3
The sexually insatiable King Henry VIII romances third wife Jane Seymour and ruthlessly quashes an uprising of rebels protesting England’s break with Rome in the third season of the drama. But distension within his own ranks leads Henry to question the loyalty of his closest allies.

Another bad description I think. Henry’s relationship with Lady Jane Seymour is (as anyone who is familiar with Henry VIII knows) very short. After successfully giving birth to a son Lady Jane dies, leaving Henry heartbroken. Season 3 follows through his mourning of Jane into the marriage (and subsequent divorce) of his short-term wife and long-time friend and “sister” Anne of Cleves. He also is introduced and falls in love with fifth wife Catherine Howard. In this season King Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary enters as one of the lead characters. She is devoted to the memory of her mother and secretly Catholic, prompting a close alliance with the Ambassador from the Holy Roman Emperor (her cousin). Later in the season Princess Elizabeth (Anne’s daughter) also begins to make appearances.

Season 4 (the final season)
King Henry VIII looses his grip on reality while trying to juggle his troubled relationships with his wives Catherine Howard (wife #5) and Catherine Parr (#6).

Season 4 is pretty much Catherine Howard and the end of King Henry VIII’s life. In some episodes Princess Mary is more of a lead character, and Princess Elizabeth appears a little more. The show ends with the death of King Henry VIII. In the last episode he begins to see flashes of his dead wives.

Acting: 9/5
The acting in this series is absolutely incredible. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays King Henry VIII excellently (though Henry never looses his perfect fitness, unlike in real life). It is kind of ironic that Henry VIII is being played by a Scottish actor (England and Scotland were enemies traditionally), but his accent is excellent.

 

Henry Cavill (Charles Brandon)

My personal favorite actors of the series are Henry Cavill (who plays King Henry’s closest friend Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk). He is a major player in each season of the show. Not only is he fun to look at, but his character shows the most growth in the series. My other favorite is Sarah Bolger, who plays the Princess Mary. She does an INCREDIBLE job, and she holds the role from when Mary was around age 12 to when she is supposed to be in her early 20s, and fits the role perfectly at all times.

 

Directing: 5/5
Every now and then you get metaphorical scenes that don’t really make sense, and one of the last scenes of the series (the one with the horse, anyone who has seen the show will know what I’m talking about) is downright corny, but overall it is an excellent job. The style is not anything impressive or new, but he does a flawless and natural job, so you never notice a scene cut and it all feels as though you really are watching this live.

Other Things

The costume director needs an award… now. The costumes here are absolutely gorgeous. Each Queen has her own style that lends itself to how her personality is supposed to be. Catherine of Aragon was very dark and serious, Anne Boleyn was sleek and sharp, Lady Jane was soft and bright, Anne of Cleves was darker and a mix of styles, Catherine Howard’s clothes were too big and too bright, like a child playing dress-up, and Catherine Parr is very simple. I absolutely loved the dresses on the female characters. The guys were a little repetitive, but still interesting to watch. My only issue is that a few of the dresses Anne Boleyn wears look nothing like a dress that would be worn in the 1500s in England…

 

L-R: Princess Mary and Queen Catherine Parr

This show is no where near historically accurate, just a warning to history fans. You get the basics of major events, but a lot of stuff is glossed over or simply left out. If you can accept the mistakes then you should have no trouble enjoying the show.

 

Each season description goes out of its way to point out how King Henry was focused on sex. In reality there isn’t as much sex in the show as you would expect. Yeah, in some episodes you see a lot of skin, but I’d say that maybe every season there are 2-3 episodes that have a strong sex scene or multiple sex scenes within the episode. Other than that it is dialed down a lot. As the series progresses (with the exception of the episodes dealing with Catherine Howard) there is less and less. A warning though: in Season 4 the sex scenes with Howard start to look like something from a porno. In that season I’d say you have maybe 4 sex-heavy episodes.

All in all I REALLY enjoyed this show. The costumes were beautiful, the sets incredible, and the acting phenomenal. I know that the show was mainly about Henry VIII’s reign, but I really wish they had decided to continue through Prince Edward’s short period on the throne and at least through the reign of Princess Mary. They don’t necessarily have to show the reign of Elizabeth, since there are already many shows and movies about that, but I would have liked to see more of the other two kids. Other than that though this was a brilliantly done show, absolutely incredible.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Hurricane Venus- BoA

Seriously, how did I get so far behind on the BoA posts?! This has been one of my favorite songs for MONTHS!

Lyics: 6/5
The song doesn’t really have any super deep meaning, so it’s hard to describe. The closest I can get is that it is a message to a boy saying that even though the girl seems wild like a hurricane if you get close enough you can find the girl at the center of the storm. It also says if you try to get close there is no chance you will avoid getting carried away. It’s not clear, but the lyrics make total sense. It’s kind of an odd combination.
Uh uh uh uh Hurricane uh uh Venus/ uh uh uh uh Hurricane uh uh Venus/ slowly slowly attacks/ slowly slowly wakes your body up/ surrounds you/ Hurri-Hurri-Hurricane Ve-Ve-Venus

Dance: 5/5
I like the dance, but the backup dancers steal a lot of the focus. They keep doing some army crawl thing that is kind of confusing. It isn’t as powerful of a dance as Copy & Paste, and it is mostly in the hips, while other songs of BoA’s tended to be more leg and arm based, but it suits the pace and song well.

Story: NA
There is no story outside of the lyrics. You see a lot of really cool sets, and about 3-4 different styles. There are a few shots (like the opening) with BoA in a white box with guys running up to it. This is highly reminiscent of her hit “Girls on Top”, so it makes me wonder if it is the same director or if it is just a throw back to that MV. They film outdoors to at a famous Seoul monument, but you can’t really tell it is outdoors, you don’t get a lot of scenery shots.

Other Things
BoA’s style for this is cool, but for some reason it makes her look much older than she is. I’m not a fan of the outfit with the shoulder pads or the one where her hair is slicked back in a braided ponytail, but the other two are pretty. I also don’t understand the solo shot with the hockey mask, it appears absolutely nowhere else, so~~~ kind of confusing.

I got to see this song performed live at SM Town Live ’10 in Seoul ^^ BoA does an incredible job of dancing and singing at the same time, which is incredibly difficult, especially to this song.

 

picture by me

This was BoA’s comeback song to Korea after being in Japan and the US for five years. I like it the most out of her 3 songs (Game, Hurricane Venus, and Copy & Paste). The song was written by Yoo Yongjin, the mastermind behind such hits as SNSD’s “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)”, “Gee” and “Oh” and Super Junior’s “Sorry,Sorry” and “Bonamana” ^^ it has the same addictive feel as all of those songs, but a more mature feel.

 

The song also marked BoA’s 10 year anniversary as a singer, celebrated at SM Town Live with a cake ^^

Leave a comment

Copy & Paste- BoA

I can’t believe how behind I’ve gotten on the BoA MVs! She’s my favorite solo artist!

Lyrics: 5/5
I’m not 100% sure about this, the song is a little confusing. I think it is about meeting a nice guy who has tried to change her in the past, and changing him instead. The lyrics definitely seem to imply that it is the guy who is changing, not BoA, and that she is the one taking control of the guy. You can decide for yourself though. There are two slightly different chorus lines (I’m starting to notice this in a lot of BoA songs), so I’ll post the translation of both.
#1
B.o.A. D.N.A./ justified self esteem/ it’s all right/ yeah that’s right/ the fantasy I’d dreamed of/ the way to newly become that shiny blue star/ everything that I have/ just to you/ I copy and paste.
#2
B.o.A. D.N.A./ Self esteem because of you/ copy all/ copy me/ a message of love/ you who always looks at me a bit more warmly/ everything that I have/ just to you/ I copy and paste.

Dancing: 6/5
It’s incredible that she can dance this and sing at the same time. It looks to be a very hard dance, similar to her original style (Hurricane Venus is a little different in my opinion). BoA shows off here how far her dance experience has taken her since debut.

Story: NA
There is no story outside the lyrics. You see three BoA’s of their own style and each with their own background. Two styles are used for dance scenes, and one seems to be just a solo shot theme. I personally like the background you see first the most, it looks very cool.

Other Things

 

The mysterious rig...

There is one little thing that kind of bothers me. In one of the first shots the strong back light lifts up. You can clearly see the rig it is attached to (you don’t see it anywhere else in the MV). What bothers me is that I can’t tell if that was supposed to be caught on camera or not… Typically in film if you see it then it was intended, but there have been a lot of little mistakes cropping up in MVs lately, so I’m not so confident. If you’re supposed to see it, then it should have been kept in the back a bit, not lost, but if you’re not supposed to see it the director should have done a better job of pulling it out.

 

In Hurricane Venus BoA had a much older look. I would have guessed she was around 29 or 30 with the shorter hair and ball cap. The three styles in this MV also make her look 3 ages. I’ll differentiate them by hairstyle, since that is where the focus is for one of them. The hair style with the epic bangs (you’ll see…) makes her look Hurricane Venus age. The second

Epic bangs

style with the bun looks around 26, and the last style where she goes back to her former long hair which became kind of trademark for her. In that last one she looks her age (24). I didn’t think hairstyles could change how old someone looks, at least not to this degree, but it really does.

 

The English at the beginning is what I was basing my lyric analysis off of. It is a call to men who think they can make women what they want and it says that the girl this time will be copying what she wants from them and “paste it/ to make a man of my design”. I think that is where you’re going to get your explanation for the song from. Honestly, without it I wouldn’t have any idea what was going on. Maybe it is the translation, but I haven’t found one yet that is clear.

1 Comment

2012

I was surprised by this movie. I didn’t think it would do very well, but then I went to see it 3 times.

Plot: 6/5
When typhoons, earthquakes and other disasters suddenly threaten to destroy the World, Jackson, his estranged wife Kate, and others surmise that the secret may lie in ancient Mayan prophecies that describe the global calamity in the year 2012.

OK, this textbook description of the movie isn’t very good (thanks a lot, Netflix). The way I would describe the movie is thus: After a series of strange global phenomenon (tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic activity) a young scientist figures out that the sun is sending out massive amounts of radiation which may very well bring about the melting of the ice caps and an increase in overall global temperature, which would cause all kinds of hell. The scientist brings his data directly to the top of the government: the President.

With other country heads a project is begun to prepare for this end of the world scenario.

Some years later strange things begin to occur. Natural disasters are on the rise and the government has taken residence in Yellowstone National Park (for those of you who don’t know, this park is home to a massive volcano). Jackson, a limo driver, is supposed to take his children for the weekend on a trip there to give his ex some alone time with her plastic-surgeon husband. At the park he breaks in to a fenced area to see a lake he and his family used to camp at. The lake is completely gone. He is taken by the feds and eventually told to just stay away. Dr. Helmsley, the young scientist from the beginning, admits to being a fan of Jackson (a highly unsuccessful writer).

Later that night Jackson hears the rantings of Charlie Frost, who is yelling about the end of the world and how Yellowstone Volcano is about to explode. Jackson and Charlie talk for a short while. In LA (where Kate, his ex, lives) a sudden fissure opens through part of the city, nearly killing his ex and her husband while shopping at the supermarket. Jackson comes home with the kids and is just getting kicked out of the house when a huge earthquake strikes. He gets in his car with Kate, her husband and the kids and high-tails it out of the city.

The movie follows mostly Jackson as he tries to stay one step ahead of the natural disasters and make his way to China, where Charlie had predicted the Chinese government (in tandem with tons of others) had built some kind of Arc to preserve humanity when the world was ending. The Arc is a series of huge ships, a ticket on which cost 1,ooo,ooo,ooo Euro (about $2,000,000,000) and was meant to fund the project. He meets up with other friends on the way and their group increases in size. Meanwhile Dr. Helmsley tries to advise the President and scrambles to save those he can, including the Presidents beautiful daughter Dr. Wilson, who was only told last minute that her art-preservation project was really a front to move priceless works (such as the Mona Lisa and David) onto these Arcs.

 

Newton and Ejiofor

Acting: 5/5
John Cusack (Jackson) and Amanda Peet (Katie) are kind of rough. Peet’s character really does most of the screaming and whining, without actually contributing a lot to the story. Her character seems more designed to give Jackson depth and drive him forward, but they could probably have just had her character dead before the movie started and with a little re-writing it all would have been fine.

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dr. Helmsley) has to be one of the most underrated actors out there. I’ve seen him in just a few movies so far, but each time he plays secondary lead roles and really does a brilliant job. I had more fun watching his storyline with Thandie Newton (Dr. Wilson) than Cusack and Peet’s duet story. And Newton, who also starred as one of the lead girls in “Crash” can’t seem to do a bad job at anything, which is why I think her career has really taken off.

There are a lot of older big names in this movie. Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson for example. Oliver Platt too, but he was never as popular as those two. There are little to no current big names, all actors who were huge about 10+ years ago and have kind of vanished. The cast is, for the most part, seems to be mid-30s (in the scope of the movie I mean, I don’t know their actual ages).

Directing: 4/5
It was alright. There were some amazing shots, but a lot of them were CGI, so I feel like I should attribute most of the score from that to the special effects department. There were also some instances, for example the scenes running through various big cities, that were kind of sloppily done. A lot seemed to be meant to show off the CGI, and you lost sight of the actors (or their car). That’s fine, but wide city shots dominated any scene that was not in a confined space. All of this was designed to show off the scope of the devastation, but too often you were snapped in and out of the action, which is a little too disorienting.

Other Things
I liked this movie a lot. I’d recommend it along with such movies as “The Day After Tomorrow” and the Korean film “Haeundae”. All 3 share a similar enough theme. Though this movie and “The Day After Tomorrow” could be twins.

As much as I picked on them I did enjoy the wider city shots. I’ve been to LA and Vegas numerous times and (at least with Vegas) I know a bit of the layout. I liked seeing the destruction scenes for the movie because there was a lot of familiarity. I think people who have been to both places numerous times can relate to that. It’s nice seeing a city you know destroyed in a movie more than a city you don’t know, it’s more fun.

In my opinion “The Day After Tomorrow” is a little better. Between the rapid camera shots and loud explosions and rumblings I kind of felt rushed in this movie. It covers a TON in the running time, and so your brain will be tired once it’s over. I would say they were a little ambitious with the plot (things go by very quickly to accommodate a long storyline), but in this case I think less would have hurt it more than having too much. You get a very even treatment of the story and nothing is sloppy.

According to both “2012” and “The Day After Tomorrow” the only place in the world largely untouched by terrifying climate and landmass changes is the middle of Africa, so I think we should all move there. Oh, and both movies teach us that our governments will hang us out to dry because all advisers to the President are total jack-asses. And the guys we should be listening to are misunderstood but too nice to say anything about it.

Leave a comment

Green Hornet

I just went to see this movie last night, so this isn’t my very first impression, but what I think of the movie after a day to think about it.

Plot: 2/5
The story of the Green Hornet is a pretty strong rip-off of Batman. Britt Reid is the son of publishing giant James Reid, and he’s a professional playboy. Suddenly his father dies (of a bee sting) and he is left with the mansion, fortune, and the newspaper his father owned. He befriends Kato, a Chinese mechanic who used to work on his fathers cars. The two bond over their hatred of his father and decide to go vandalize his father’s grave, which has a huge statue over it. They cut off the statues head and, while leaving, Britt sees a couple being attacked by gangsters. He and (mostly) Kato stop the attack and flee, excited over their deeds. Britt decides to become a crime fighter. He has an idea that heroes die when bad guys start using innocents as hostages. In order to protect himself and Kato, he poses instead as a criminal trying to take control of LA from the mob boss Chudnofsky. The movie follows his attacks on Chudofsky’s empire.

Acting: 4/5

There are a lot of big names in this movie- Jay Chou (Kato) is a massive popular Taiwanese pop star, and Cameron Diaz lends her talents as well. Jay Chou does a pretty good job, and Seth Rogen (Britt) was surprisingly good. It’s kind of weird, but Diaz is the actor I’m least impressed with. She always plays the same characters, and her act is getting pretty tired. She either needs to shake it up by picking different roles or her career is going to go down the tank. Christoph Waltz (Chudnofsky) does a pretty good job, but his accent comes and goes.

Directing: 1/5
This is what I didn’t like. Most of the movie has a very “Ooh! You know what would be cool???” kind of feel. Not as ADHD as Quintin Tarantino, but if he keeps going like this he will be just as bad. Honestly comic book movies are pretty tired, but this one could have been better if the director was more serious.

Other Things

I was a bit confused by Jay Chou’s character. He’s supposed to be from China (where the actor is originally from), but his name is Japanese… Kato is not a name I’ve ever come across on a Chinese person…

1 Comment

Change- HyunA (4 Minute) feat. JunHyung (B2ST)

This is HyunA’s solo song featuring a bit of vocal support from JunHyung of B2ST/BEAST.

Lyrics: 1/5
The lyrics aren’t clear, but (like with 4 Minute songs) the translation makes this a song that sends a bad message. This one particularly sends a horrible one, if the lyrics are saying what the songwriter means them to say. CUBE Entertainment tends to release songs with a lot of English in them (like this one) and that English rarely makes any sense with the Korean, like here. What the song appears to be saying is that no one takes the girl seriously so she decides to change. She says she will change everything, her wishes and her dreams, everything. But it isn’t saying think for yourself, it’s saying “follow me and change”. It just doesn’t feel like a very deep song or one with any particular meaning.

Dance: 4/5
Too much of the same thing for my taste, but it’s a very powerful dance. The entire chorus is hip thrusts, and most of the song follows that. It’s a lot of the same move repeated seemingly endlessly.

Story: NA
The set is an old street, a dance floor, and some random rooms. There isn’t much special about it, it looks identical to the sets from Co-Ed’s “Too Late” and U-Kiss’ “Am I That Easy”. It works well with the song, it’s just nothing new.

Other Things
I think I have socks with more fabric than some of the outfits in this MV. This MV is pure sex appeal, think any 4 Minute MV on steroids. All the outfits are teeny or reveal a lot of stomach, and the dance is provocative to say the least. With the newer restrictions Korean channels are putting on their music programs I’d be surprised if she could even perform this song anymore. In lives she wore WAY more clothes than in any shot of this MV though, so there only the dance is a problem.

I was pretty harsh against this MV, but let me just say that I actually watch this MV a lot. The song is catchy and I think the dance is unique and fits well with it. I just don’t think there is much depth to the lyrics. I don’t think I would like the MV as much if I could completely understand the Korean. It has a nice rhythm and beat, like all 4 Minute songs, and it is performed very well, but the lack of depth and disjointed English phrases make it confusing.

Leave a comment

Cabi Song- 2PM/So Nyeo Shi Dae

This is an advertisement for Caribbean Bay, a water park in South Korea.

Lyrics: ?/5
It’s exactly what you would expect from an advertisement. It says it’s a hot summer and it’s about a girl and a guy getting closer in the heat. But it doesn’t forget to mention “Cabi”- Caribbean bay.

Dancing: NA
No dancing in this ad.

Story: 5/5
It’s pretty cute actually. Chansung, Taecyeon and Nichkhun of 2PM as well as Yuri, Yoona, and Seohyun of SNSD are lifegards at Caribbean Bay in training. They don’t want to talk to each other and refuse to fraternize, as it is looked down upon, but as the training goes on they start to fall in love, eventually each of them is partnered up. Taecyeon with Yoona, Nichkhun with Yuri, and (predictably) Seohyun and Chansung (both are the youngest of their group). In the end they all come together at a final party and have fun.

Other Things

This is a good MV for male fans of SNSD and female fans of 2PM, as the guys of 2PM are completely shirtless and the girls of SNSD have basically training bras on. Eye candy no matter which group you’re looking at.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen: Eye Candy

In the party scene the other dancers are members of 2PM and SNSD. They all dance the “Cabi Song” choreography together and have fun. Like I said, it’s kind of a cliche advertisement, but I like the little love stories, they add another dimension to the whole thing.

 

Leave a comment