Posts Tagged media

Fugitive Plan B – a melding of HD pros and cons

I’ve been watching an older drama, while simmering along in wait for subtitles on the shows that are current, starring Rain, and a lot of fun fight-scenes.

Also known (on Hulu, where I watch it) as Runaway Plan B, this is a gorgeously shot show where they knew how awesome shots would look in HD on a big screen, and planned accordingly.

As another show, like City Hunter, with an action/intrigue focus, and a high-tech friendly subject, they work a lot in cool colors for the industrial settings.

They also used locations where the detail may have been too complex to look well in lower resolution, but is drop-dead-gorgeous as well as evocative with a good lens on it.

Funny thing, though, the makeup department didn’t seem to get the memo. I first noticed it on Daniel Henney:

Figured it was just a problem of him being half-white and not matching the toners they had. But when it started really bothering me, I noticed that all the guys seemed to have the same color, and it looked kind of bad on others, too. They just aren’t the eye-candy type so it would bother me.

Even the leading lady was a little too yellow, when she’s a fair, blue-toned Winter. The subtleties needed for makeup on these newfangled shows was missed somehow.

There will be no comments on wardrobing, because I’m guessing it’s pretty easy to make guys look good when you’ve got Rain, who MUST be in v-necks and leather coolguy jackets, Henney, who looks good in anything businessman-like or average-guy-casual

and the ladies looked good in their suits, but there was *nothing* stand out in their wardrobing. I liked the detail of Jin-Yi wearing flat sandals of the kind of hippie type, and carrying flats a lot, but then sometimes she wears the high-heels of a Heroine, too. So I feel like they missed an opportunity for characterization there.

In the end, who cares? The point of this show is the compelling plot (which dragged a bit toward the 5th or so episode, but picked up again when the secrets were mostly out (an effect I was not expecting) and watching Rain ham it up.

Right. And eye-candy locations. It’s a globe-trotting, high-rollers-in-crime show. Why skimp on that?


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Icon Watch: TOP of Big Bang

Here’s the face:

And here’s his crew:

TOP of Big Bang has held his own as a figure in K-Pop by no accident.

Think of the competition: he’s one of two rappers and five members in his boy-band. There are dozens of groups with some of the same song-writers, choreographers, and similar concepts out there.

Where does he stand out? Let’s look a bit at the roots here, and talk Big Bang.

Big Bang is actual sunbae to the last group I profiled, 2NE1. Both are under YG entertainment, and 2NE1 debuted under Big Bang’s aegis, alongside them for the “Lollipop” commercial song.

The house style is obvious both in the music (pop R&B that’s catchy but has body, too) and a style that would rather catch eyes than stay classy.

Kind of personifying this is the group leader G-Dragon*. He’s small with a loud personality, a signature kid-like voice as a rapper, and the ability to wear an exaggeration of rapper style that’s completely ridiculous. He actually makes an ideal counterpoint for TOP…

a little preppy layered with gangsta

Who actually does best when taking a classic and adding just a slight slant on it.

One of his solo pursuits has been acting, including a turn as an assassin on the extremely successful spy drama IRIS. This show (from the MV I’ve seen of his cuts, heh) plays up the slightly sinister charisma he has.

The promo posters have him looking a little weirdly sleek, but in the actual footage, the punk arrogance and chic style comes across much better…

All the agents wear black, as far as i can tell–that’s very much the aesthetic of this show–but he makes it seem a sexy fashion covenant, rather than a professionalism.

One of his recent stylings as a star (not a character) is to have silver or insanely blonde hair.

It’s something that instantly boots that classic look up to something a bit more edgy. It sometimes ventures into pastiche, but the boy works with G-Dragon. Give him a break.

What it really comes down to is that TOP is hot. But in a kind of unusual way, especially for K-Pop boys. Rather than charming, he’s a little stand-offish in image, which is only played up by the penchant for suit jackets and ice-queen hair. He has a voice with a rough edge, and of all the Big Bang members roughed up in the “Haru Haru” video sequences he’s the one who looks not damaged, just accessorized. Would he probably look decent in anything? Yeah. But his stylists do seem to get that it’s best if you keep it simple, with just a couple things to telegraph “rapper, K-pop phenom”

is that...a pink butterfly earring?



* G-Dragon is actually the one I came across first. He’s actually one of the insanely interesting to analyze dressers that I haven’t gotten to posting about yet, because where do you start?

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City Hunter OTP: not what you’d think it is

One of the things about City Hunter that I’m surprised to actually support is that while the love-line between Na-Na and Yoon-Sung took the fore in a mini-arc, once it was kind of settled, the actual mission came again to the front. Na-Na was still a major player, because she was set up as a character involved with the whole package, not just his solace in a nasty storm…

Doesn't the navy-with-red seem kind of child-like, more a little boy's suit, so he looks even MORE vulnerable here?

though very good at that, too.

The focus of the drama was all about relationshipS, a network of them, where no connection came without a couple of knots with others. Even though the action was hot, it was the pieces of this network falling together that was the primary suspense.

And so, what was the best love-line? All shades of love are involved in this drama…

..these guys are so cute with their buddy-connection...

appropriate since the denouement conflict is over choosing between the love of loyalty, blood, and altruism, too.

So then, we have  Jin-Pyo, who made him who he is, and who is his harshest enemy. His mom, who he has the sweetest, bitterest reunion with. Young-Ju, with whom he has a rivalry that pushes both of them to excellence…and the funniest dominance games.

But who brings out the best in him? The human flaws and virtues?

So this is the prettiest pairing, yes.

Not Na-Na, actually. She heightens his conflict as City Hunter, and throws him into the hyper-reality of romantic love. No, this honor goes to everyone’s favorite ajumma…

Shik-Joong Ajussi!

I mean, look at these guys.

they get the brightest backdrops, even!

They have the sweetest exchanges, in terms of every-day back and forth in a friendship. The credit-cards arguments?


Sweet nothings? More like gossip-swapping...

They’re the kind of besties that usually you only see in US chick-flicks. Lee Min Ho’s other best pairing notwithstanding…


It’s so cute, because while Yoon-Sung still feels the emotional lack of a mother, and all the ugly pressure of a swarm of fathers, Ajussi is the one who makes sure he’s living well, who gives him someone to take care of (who’s not a burden emotionally, but a real motivator to stay alive) and also a buddy who can help with whatever he’s up to.

Na-Na can keep up with the action, but Shik-Joong can be talked into doing the grunt work…

How cute is it that he’s the opposite of Yoon-Sung’s suave, plausible con man, and yet, he ALWAYS succeeds, too?

Aw. I will miss you.


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City Hunter – using the HD screen for good and eeeevil

This is a show set firmly in the 2kteens.

In a way, it must be horrible for actors to have to be on-target facially to such a high definition. Lee Min Ho does not have to cry over this, though.

I mentioned toward the beginning of the series that costumers know they have a good thing when he’s under their hands. I notice, in my screen caps, that there’s a lot of black, of course … and also hues of baby blue. It’s kind of in metro fashion these years, but it’s also definitely a good color on him.

Since there is almost no softness to his figure and features, the gentle colors don’t take away any masculinity.

EVEN if you put him in lace-texture blouses, too.

(I noted how they didn’t cop out on his sick-pallor makeup for several episodes after he got shot, and then again after being gassed. In looking back over the recaps I’m reminded how awesome that little detail is.)

Something else I’m seeing even more clearly from my screencaps is the introduction of warm, pinkish tones when NaNa is on the scene. I noted at the time the strong, but romantic light in this scene:

It’s true to the very high-intensity light of the rest of the show, but softened by the contrast of red phone and bright blouse, and a small diffuse effect.

But it’s not just in warm moments that this is true, actually.

Even if it’s Lee Yoon-Sung wearing maroon in the shot, can you deny it?

It’s a color that looks well against the sky and steel blues of most of the rest of the show, yet has a very distinctly different vibe.

You may also note (in upcoming photos, and previous ones) nature colors of wood and greens are the others to temper the black and glass-clear tech of this show’s 2011. Sky blue is noticeable in lightening the mood, because it has more green and yellow notes in it than the powdery or clear colors elsewhere.

So hot it BURNS.


…of course I’m talking about that jacket, what else?


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All City Hunter, All The Time


That’s how many screencaps I have of this show. Usually it’s more toward 30 total, but you know…

this was just a gorgeous show. The shots, the sets, the people. Any time the beats of the scene were going to be a little slow, they plopped it in a place with visual energy.

It’s really not surprising me at all that I took that many without really trying too hard. This is probably only a handful of episodes worth. The story is so absorbing I plumb forgot most times.

Just as Myung Wol the Spy (my new favorite flavor of crack) is working the rebellious energy of the Eric/Han Ye-Seul pairing, Nana and Yoo Sung are both eager-to-please, dedicated people with a taste for danger. It’s not just chemistry of their clear-lined looks. Their characters, and the actors behind it, have rapport.

I’m going to be so sad when this show is over. Since it’s never for a minute bored me, though, I’ll probably be rewatching it someday.


Anyway, fair warning: thematic posts on City Hunter to turn my mourning energies to productivity likely to fill the next week or so.


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CITY HUNTER — or, Lee Min Ho means tailored coats

Do they know how to dress this boy or WHAT?

I mean, he’s wearing the Color of Hate and Filth, and I screencapped this before I even realized it.

I mean, I feel a little bad for the boy, the moment his wasp-waist goes he’ll no longer be the beloved pet of the wardrobe designers…

But I say, live in the now. As the Patron Saint of SuitFetishers everywhere.

Oh yes. And of hairless Asian chests in scoop-neck tees. That, too.

We’ll save characterizing detail posts for other days. I’ve got more City Hunter to watch…

and screencap, for your pleasure. As always.


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The Boy Band Jam – Show Biz Shows II

One of the assets of having a crew of characters in a band together for costuming characterization, that must also be frustrating, is having a set look within which to give each character their own flair.

When you have to not only balance the fact that the characters are being dressed for their band personas, as well as taking into account the actual character information  you want to convey…well, I’m pretty sure sometimes you just have to throw together something that looks good and forget layering, but I particularly enjoyed the first concert-get up in You’re Beautiful of all 4 together.

And not just because chain belts and cuffs are sexy.

At this point Mi-Nam (Mi-Nyu, really) is the most generic. She probably has no say in what she’s wearing, and she’s the unknown quantity in the band. In fact, she’s basically come in to be the “fresh blood”. Her brother’s portfolio photo shows that he has a pretty heavy punk sensibility (guyliner and EVERYTHING) but it’s not him there, and so they’ve gone with cute fresh guy–kind of the baseline of the band’s look.

[I didn’t see this until I started screen-capping, but they all have those beaded insect brooches on their outfits somewhere. Clearly we just haven’t seen this trend explode, as it inevitably will with A.N.Jell sporting them.]

Jeremy’s role has been to be the fresh, vivacious guy between quiet, suave Shin-Woo and quiet, wired Tae-Kyung. If he wasn’t so busy imagining Mi-Nam seducing his precious band-mates (heh, reading too much of his own slash-fic, best underplayed meta everrrr) then he would have had reason to be jealous of his own place as far as fan-following goes. Again, the real Mi-Nam would have slid into a completely different slot than his mild-mannered convent-raised sister.

The only real difference between these two’s get ups is Jeremy’s trademark Unfortunate Hair. Unlike Tae-Kyung’s weird hair that’s sleek and intentional, his blond thatch always looks like it got half-way to some recognizable style and then the stylist got snuffed.

(If you think this post is mostly an excuse to post all the photos of these hilariously colorful skinny-jeans on mostly male models, you’d be wrong. But very nearly right.)

Tae-Kyung, with his bizarrely specific hair, has a cowl-neck on his white jacket that recalls his usual style around the house [sweaters as loungewear never meant something so scandalous before] and he is largely free of the industrial/goth cuffs, chains, and brooches. The metal he carries is largely in creatively placed zippers, actually.

This clean look does him a lot of favors and keeps his unusual personality at the forefront.

On the other hand, Shin-Woo is the only one whose outfit I actually noticed as being different from the others, so that I retroactively realized they each had separate outfits aside from the jean-hue.

Oh, baby. They put a priest tunic on you, and you thought you might get the girl?

While Tae-Kyung’s upright personality is demonstrated in cleric collars, they skip right to bishop-type decoration for the White Knight of the show, and embodiment of unrewarded kindliness.

The fashion comes in, I guess, in the way the tunic isn’t that long all the way around. Usually he’s square in slightly-indie Metro town. Yong-Hwa looks cute in hats and glasses, and loose sweaters, so this is one of the most bold statements he wears in the K-drama scheme of things, as second-lead-heartbreaker (though don’t let me go on about his grunge-sweater variant because I WANT IT and I’ve found one on Etsy, too).

In a classic move to back up wardrobe with plot-point, this is also the first time where  Shin-Woo, who wants to be Mi-Nam’s first friend, is instead the very last one who can do something for her.

Foreshadowing, buddy. There’s just no way to win.


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