Domestic Gift Factory
Lee Jiyeon: Crooked but wholeheartedly drawn logo and handwriting. A house set in a “nice and cozy” background, which is an expression that the program host Kwanghee is into nowadays. Something about the guest introduction and emcee seems a bit clumsy, but the love for their fans is real. It’s Domestic Gift Factory (Ganaejogongup). Like Kwanghee's description, “It’s a program where the stars who have always only received from their fans make gifts and pay “reverse tribute” to express and return their gratitude. In Domestic Gift Factory, guests prepare heartfelt gifts for their fans by handcrafting each and every detail. From the “recommended items” to mini-mes, which are dolls chosen by the guests whose faces they’ve hand-drawn themselves, and the must-have “photo cards” along with some sweet treats. It’s not just through material gifts that they express their love for their fans. As they make these handcrafts, the guests introduce and boast their fans, even sharing some unforgettable episodes. “I love the fact that I was there to take a part of my fan’s life,” said Jo Yuri, recalling a fan from a video call fansign event who knew her love for the sea and showed her the video of the sea along with its sounds.
According to Kwon Jeong Yeol, “The creator of this program must be a genius. Appearing on the show just once isn’t enough. I should come again. Since I’ve got more to give.” Likewise, Domestic Gift Factory becomes complete when the so-called “reverse tribute” is combined with the guests’ heartfelt desires to “return the love they received from their fans.” Those wishes are delivered to the fans through videos, which in turn get comments filled with heartfelt support, love, and loving words for the guests. They’re all so full of sincerity and love for each other.
The Roundup: No Way Out
Im Sooyeon (CINE21 reporter): A franchise that feels like it would continue to live on like the James Bond or the Indiana Jones series as long as the character played by actor Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee) doesn’t lose his luster. The Roundup: No Way Out is back, this time, featuring Japan’s yakuza and the police as villains. Seven years after its previous series, Detective Ma Seok-do (Ma Dong-seok), who transferred from Geumcheon Police Station to a regional investigation unit, tracks down an organized crime group that manufactures and distributes a new drug known as “Hiper.” Then, there’s another secret behind the large Japanese yakuza group that manufactures and distributes drugs. Joo Seong-cheol (Lee JunHyuk), who made it to the head of the team for his excellent drug-crime investigation skills, secretly joins hands with the yakuza to help with the smuggling. It’s a sequel to The Roundup series that honestly sticks to what made its forerunners popular among its audience: punchy action design simply based on the conflict of good and evil, the physical appearance of Ma Dong-seok, and the puns that rely on supporting characters’ acting skills. Although the narration may have lost its focus compared to that of its previous series, with Ma Suk-do fighting against two different types of villains whose presence seems to have weakened, we can still get a glimpse of Ma Dong-seok’s strong determination to smash those inevitable shortcomings with his strong fists.
“BLOOD AND SUGAR” by Boys Like Girls
Kim Doheon (Music Critic): The band Boys Like Girls who used to make our days young and refreshed in the 2000s. Though their name may sound unfamiliar to some, you probably have heard of “The Great Escape,” the all-time rock anthem in Korea that makes your heart pound. Riding the final wave of pup punk/emocore trend in 2006, they debuted their self-titled album at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 200 and gained recognition before going on to enjoy their brief glory days with their following album Love Drunk and the song “Two Is Better Than One” featuring Taylor Swift. But since then, their path has been mostly downhill. Martin Johnson, the leader known for his clear, youthful voice, lost his voice due to strained singing techniques, and bassist Bryan Donahue left the group due to discord within the team. Their 2012 album Crazy World failed as a clumsy attempt at country music. Like that, they were on the verge of being a forgotten band of the past when, after 11 years, Boys Like Girls returned with a new song “BLOOD AND SUGAR.” Frankly, I didn't have high expectations, but surprise, surprise, it’s quite impressive. The powerful extended drums and guitar riffs along with the mesmerizing use of vocoders complement Martin Johnson's new husky vocals, creating an exquisite pop punk song. In the music video, Boys Like Girls get all beaten up. They get smacked on the head by a beer bottle, and they get punched in the face and are covered in blood. Still, they gaze straight into the camera. They calmly confess that while they've wasted a lot of time obsessing over perfection, they are simply just humans who obsess over simple stuff, and it’s okay not to take things too seriously. The young school band has returned as mature adults after many years of wandering. I’m thankful they didn’t remain as a one-hit wonder.
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