12 Years Promise: Review

26 episodes and many wrist grabs later, I’ve concluded 12 Years Promise (also known as Wild Chives and Soy Bean Soup: 12 Years Reunion), a 2014 Korean drama focusing on the relationship and romantic hardships between Jang Gook played by Lee-So-yeoun and Yoo Joon-soo played by Namkoong Min.

As a quick synopsis:

After her father’s unfortunate passing Jang Gook is a new student at Daehan High School in Seoul after leaving Busan with her mother and younger brother to start fresh. They move in with Gook’s grandmother who is running a dumpling shop, which becomes the setting for many events later in the series. As school progresses Gook finds a love interest in Yoo Joon-soo, who is the long time one-sided love interest of Joo Dae-hae played by Lee Tae-im.

This triangle is a source of conflict as the story unfolds, but as Dae-hae plans to woo Joon-soo, Gook ends up getting pregnant leading to turmoil between friends and between the Jang and Yu households. A tragic event leads to Jang Gook’s abrupt dismissal to the U.S to become successful and Yu Joon-soo’s departure on a family trip leaving the couple separated without any goodbyes or explanation.

As fate would have it, with an identity left behind, Gook returns to Seoul 12 years later as Jang Dal-rae upon being scouted by the HK department store, an upscale shopping locale that also happens to be the employer of Joon-soo. She seems familiar, but a confrontation with her aunt shuts down any notion that this could be the Gook he once new and all the while she is battling not letting the past repeat itself with every cold encounter she has with Joon-soo.

There is a great development of character that goes on, with family dynamics playing a large role in many of the disputes. Over roughly hour-long episodes, you get to see how this relationship evolves when they’re young, and in the years after their separation. Every episode had me eager to see what became of their romance.

Unfortunately, it had a rather abrupt ending with some of the smaller plots leaving many unanswered questions and conflicts left unresolved, but all in all it was still an enjoyable series. Great cast and plot, Jang Gook and Yoo Joon-soo forever.

Zootopia: Review

After vaguely hearing about Zootopia in the spring of this year, I was surprised, but excited to see it in the trending bank on Netflix and immediately had to watch to see what the buzz was about. Upon first glance it may seem like the typical animal based Disney movie, but quickly unfolds to reveal several layers of awareness on topics that reflect current issues going on in today’s society.

The story revolves around a rabbit, Judy Hopps voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, who aspires to become a police officer and change the world. In the beginning sequences you assume the story will take the traditional route of the heroine fulfilling her dreams tackling whatever obstacles lay in her path, which it does for a little bit, but once she reaches her goal, you get to see some of the underlying messages that come about as the plot develops.

The next key character, voiced by Jason Bateman, is a fox named Nick Wilde, who is essential in moving the story forward. Officer Hopps has preconceived ideas about foxes due to generalizations and assumptions made on the entire species, but through her interactions with Wilde her perceptions start to change. Here is where we start to see references extending outside the realm of fiction and touching on issues of race relations and stereotypes in the real world.

Zootopia is an incredibly relevant and timely movie depicting real issues in a sincere way and on terms where young people stand to benefit from watching. A must watch for all ages.

Video Dissection/ A$AP Rocky L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS)

A$AP Rocky’s “L$D” directed by Dexter Navy and co-directed by A$AP Rocky is a cinematic masterpiece clocking in at five minutes twenty-seven seconds, narrating a story of Love, $ex, and Dreams through a dynamic range of visuals and eclectic sound.

Many elements contribute to the psychedelic feel of the video, with the lighting being a major player in the tone of the story. The lights are bright and all encompassing, drowning out many of the scenes and being one of the biggest pulls that draw interest. The “Enter the Void”-esque environment is coupled with complex video shots that make the entire video flow, but not overwhelming.

Just as a taste, because it really is hard to experience this without seeing it firsthand, in the opening, the video starts with a red ambiance and a tight shot above the artist’s face as he is on his back and then slowly spins and starts to draw back to see the landscape. From there it transitions to a scene where he is walking in some non descript back alley in Japan, but there are intermittent sections of the scene where it speeds up/slows down and then reverts back to the regular pace, which is subtle but still is an interesting visual point. He then gets into a taxi and at this point the camera is still behind him, but as the door closes the attention of the camera goes to the back taillight, which is pulsing a vibrant red orange, and then disappears into the light and enters a transition that opens in the bright contains of a fire displayed on a TV set in the back of a van.

We’re taught that panning is not to be used in our news videos because it isn’t a natural eye movement, but for this video it was a successful strategy alongside the pacing of the shots utilized in order to show the setting at the different locations where the lights and signage are a focal point in everyday life and addresses the culture aspect as well. It creates a lot of interest and they do it without having the effect of sensory overload. You may get a little discombobulated, but it seems to be to the effect that they intend with the topics dealing with something as vivid and transient as drug usage with the combination of love and sex.

About midway through, the mood changes as the song switches to one of the harder songs on the “AT.LONG.LA$T.A$AP” album and this scene is also one of the longer ones with Rocky rapping into a cracked mirror with the lights flickering in this gold/beige lit room with chandeliers hanging above him and it really is just a cool technique and the final product is very dope, but before you get comfortable it transitions back to the chill confines of the original setting and closes out on a balcony awash in the bright lights of the city.

As if the song wasn’t good enough, the video only raised the appeal and added a story to the words. This is the culmination of the mastery of video to make something look so simple and visually stimulating altogether. A must watch.

MU Cheer Club

For my idea pitch, the newly founded cheerleading club was the story that made the cut. Being a new program here on campus there’s opportunity to cover this story in a fresh way without the influence of any prior coverage. I was hoping to focus primarily on the difficulties (if any) of getting a club established and some of the requirements needed to be recognized as a club whether that is a certain amount of funding or heightened general interest from the community.

As for the different angles in this piece, for video the plan is to capture some of their dance routines and the team dynamic as well as one-on-one interviews with some of the members and founder(s). From here I’ll try to answer the question being what drew these participants to join/founder(s) to create and how they have gained any experience or skills.

For the audio segment, there’s a lot of natural sound since this is notoriously a sound heavy activity. Clapping, stomping, yelling would be some obvious clips to shoot for. It may be challenging to isolate these from the routine music, but during practices where they are learning new choreography may be an ideal time to accomplish this.

Photo may be the most challenging out of the three objectives seeing as the people are the main subjects of the story. Besides images of multiple members, I could do some type of shot where the uniform is the focus seeing as it could be a symbolic example of the club’s existence.

There are a lot of different directions to go with this project and as I get into it I think I’ll be able to cement my ideas and determine what would be best suited to tell this story.