Police officer Kang Ki-beom lost his eyes and his wife and was set up for the whole thing after he put all his efforts into taking down the large criminal organization Argos. Now recruited to the super-secret NIS special task force known as “Rugal”, where the members are given biotechnology implants to replace their missing body parts and thus gain the equivalent of superpowers, Kang Ki-beom, and his teammates set out to really take down Argos, and bring his wife’s killers to justice!
The show is full of kick-ass fight scenes, fun Robocop-like scenes courtesy of Kang’s bionic eyes and his co-worker’s replacement parts, and all the Korean cop drama you can shake your kim-chi at!
Mystic Pop-Up Bar
Mobile outdoor tent pop-up bars known as pojangmacha are a staple in Korea, but this one is special! Run by sharp-tempered proprietress Weol-ju and her stoic partner Chief Gwi, Mystic Pop-up Bar actually solves their client’s issues through a supernatural method of dream incubation. Both Weol-ju and Chief Gwi are spirits sent back to the Living Realm as a punishment; Weol-ju has to settle the grudges of 100,000 souls to be forgiven for her crimes in a past life and Chief Gwi has sworn to help her.
Han Kang-bae is a kind young man who was cursed since he was little with the ability to make anyone pour out their innermost truths to him through physical contact. And when Weol-ju meets hapless Han Kang-bae, it’s a match made in the supernatural realm, and ripe for all kinds of nefarious shenanigans!
Full of heart and snark and the continual reminder that people really need to just talk to each other instead of keeping it all in, Mystic Pop-up Bar boasts shades of the beloved Japanese anime Xxxholic and is a great supernatural jaunt for a Korean drama.
100 Days My Prince
The first of a few saeguk (Korean historical drama) entries, this one begins with an unusual premise – a prince suffering amnesia who finds love amongst the common people.
So Lee Yul is the crown prince, whether he likes it or not, after a successful coup completely rearranges the power and King of the Court. From a devastated boy who loses his beloved mother at a tender age too, he grows into a bitter and cold young man who seems to delight in pegging-down everyone around him. Resentful and angry, during a drought plaguing the kingdom and everyone else plaguing him about consummating his marriage to the crown princess, Lee Yul commands for all unmarried people under a certain age to wed.
And then en route to the rain ritual, a botched assassination attempt sends the crown prince with a head wound amongst the common folk, to be taken care of by Hong-shim, her adoptive father, and a cadre of other very-common peasant friends. Facing arrest if she doesn’t obey the new law, Hong-shim ends up marrying the newly-arrived and rechristened amnesiac Won-deuk, and hilarity ensues!
Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung
A fictional story of one of the first four female historians of the Korean Joseon period to ever be involved in compiling the Veritable Records of the dynasty.
Goo Hae-ryung is plucky and smart, but also young and undeniably female, which of course means everyone thinks she’s destined for an arranged marriage with a stranger, a passel of children, and likely young death from overwork. Instead, Goo Hae-ryung takes her destiny in her own hands and determinedly joins the testing for female historians, passing the challenge and joining a highly exclusive formerly mens-only club of historians that compile the Veritable Records for future generations.
As she struggles to work on the same level as the men, Hae-ryung meets the throwaway prince Yi Rim, himself an frustrated and overlooked soul who loves to write romance novels, of all things, and that earns him arrogant sniffs from his peers too.
Workplace romance shenanigans ensue, the constant struggle for the stability of the Joseon dynasty leads to life-threatening political entanglements, and through all this, Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung is there to fearlessly endure and record it for the precious historical records.
My Country The New Age
Another saeguk entry, this one focuses more on military battles and aristocratic political mongering, though there is a small, sweet romance laced throughout the bloody business; a pretty pair of pink shoes abandoned on the battlefield as Korea fights its blood-soaked way from the Goryeo dynasty to the new Joseon dynasty.
A pair of friends begin the story by taking the state military exam together – Seo-hwi is a blacksmith and the disgraced son of a man wrongly executed for embezzlement, while Seon-ho is technically an aristocrat but still looked down upon as his mother was a concubine. Seon-ho commits an unforgivable act of betrayal against Seo-hwi at the exam, setting off a downward spiral that pits the two brothers at odds with each other, set against the backdrop of epic dynastic changes as one era ends and a new one attempts to rise from the ashes.
Lavish with well-made fight scenes and the kind of drama and tragedy that Korean shows are famous for, My Country The New Age is a tear-jerker of the finest quality.
Bonus entry – Kingdom
Yet another saeguk entry, Kingdom is of course set in the Korean Joseon period and is full of your standard political and social strife, but with one significant addition – zombies!
Three years after the fictional Unpo Wetland Battle, where 500 Korean soldiers and the governor-turned-general defeated an invading Japanese army of 30,000 using some terrible secret methods, Kingdom skillfully weaves a horrific storyline of the unquiet dead through an already-epic tale of dynastic betrayal and manipulation. Featuring a starring role from Bae Doona (Sense8, The Host, Cloud Atlas) as the physician’s assistant turned war medic Seo-bi, Kingdom boasts two whole seasons available on Netflix now!
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm