Drama

Movies You May Want to Watch If… (Second Half of 2021)

WARM AND COZY IN WINTER WITH MOVIES!

If you live in Northern Hemisphere, it means winter is here. At my place, it’s below zero degrees Celsius! The temperature keeps dropping, and you rather stay inside your home or room. Bundle up, have a warm drink and munchies, and let’s get warm and cozy with movies! So I compiled some 2021 released movies I have watched for the second half of the year. All movies and trailers have English subs.

Just in case you missed the first part of my article, you can check it out here.

Disclaimer: I only watch movies that are my cup of tea, and the endings are to my liking. They may not be your cup of tea, but once in a while you may want to try them. I won’t write any reviews nor rate the movies, as I believe there is a movie for everyone in every situation/condition. I categorized them based on the main genre of the plot, color-coded, starting from lighthearted comedy (orange) to creepy horror (purple). Some of them I deliberately put into a certain genre, or it will be a spoiler. Let’s get started!

P.S. Oh yeah, since you’ve seen the feature image, you may wonder: what’s the connection between a singer and any movie? Read this article towards the end, to the Bonus section. Believe me, there is a connection between the singer and a movie, or movies to be exact. ;D


Watch these if you want something funny:

COMEDY AND ROMCOM

Show Me the Ghost 

Country: South Korea | Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural Duration: 1 hr. 23 min.
Trailer: EonTalk | Where to watch: Viki
This movie tells about two young people, Ho Doo (Kim Hyun Mok) and Ye Ji (Han Seung Yeon), who are unfortunate enough to find jobs. Fortunately, their new house seems perfect, because it’s cheap and furnished. However, it also comes with something else… a ghost. Or is it? The movie doesn’t even have a horror tag, so what is it? Whatever it is, they want to keep the house. So they hire an exorcist, Go Doo (Hong Seung Bum). 

So, even if you don’t like horror movies or have a fear of ghosts, you can still watch this movie!

Caution, Hazardous Wife

Country: Japan | Genres:  Action,  Comedy,  Drama | Duration: 1 hr. 59 min. |
Trailer: Fantasia International Film Festival
This movie is a sequel of the Japanese drama under the same native title, Okusama wa, Tori Atsukai Chui  (2017). The movie picks up right where the drama left off. Both tell about a former special agent, Nami (Ayase Haruka), who hid her past and lives normally. She marries Isayama Yuki (Nishijima Hidetoshi), not knowing that he is actually a secret agent for the public security department. 

Now you may ask: “do I need to watch the drama to understand the movie?” Yes and no. If you just want to watch some funny action, you can just watch the movie. The drama tells about their backgrounds and their ‘normal’ life. It’s only 10 episodes of 45 minutes that you can watch on Viki. Although the protagonists are a married couple, both shows only have a slight romance.

Pipeline

Country: South Korea | Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime | Duration: 1 hr. 48 min. | 
Trailer: Eon Talk | Where to watch: Viki
Seven years have passed since Seo In Guk and Lee Soo Hyuk quit working at the IT company in High School King of Savvy (2014), and we know where these two handsome brats are working: in the oil industry! The first is a drilling expert, Kang Se Dol, nicknamed Drill-bit. The latter is an oil refining company boss, Gun Woo, who hires Drill-bit for an enormous sum of money for an oil heist mission. Drill-bit puts together a team of drilling experts to get the job done.

New Year Blues

Country: South Korea | Genres:  Comedy,  Romance,  Drama,  Melodrama | 
Duration: 1 hr. 54 min.  |  Trailer: Eon Talk  |  Where to watch: Viki
This is like one of the holiday seasons movies you watch for good and warm feelings, Korean style. The story follows four very different couples with unique problems, needs, and concerns face up to their worries and obstacles at the start of a brand new year. The ensemble cast is: Kim Kang Woo as detective Ji Ho, Yoo In Na as rehab trainer Hyo Young, two young travelers, Jae Heon (Yoo Yeon Seok) and Jin Ah (Lee Yun Hee), also travel agent Yong Chan (Lee Dong Hwi) with his Chinese fiancée Yao Lin (Chen Du Ling). And lastly, a gardener, Oh Wol (Choi Soo Young), with her snowboarder boyfriend Rae Hwan (Yoo Teo). 

Although this is a romance movie, it’s more humorous with a tinge of slice-of-life done in a lighthearted way.

Sweet & Sour

Country: South Korea | Genres: Comedy, Romance, Melodrama  | Duration: 1 hr. 42 min.  |
Trailer: The Swoon  |  Where to watchNetflix

Due to a work promotion, Jang Hyuk (Jang Ki Yong) is transferred to Seoul, leaving his girlfriend Jeong Da Eun (Chae Soo Bin), who works long hours as a nurse, in Incheon. The job pressure makes the long distance relationship (27 km straight line, +/- 1 hour drive) a chore for him. 

Japanese adaptation: Initiation Love (2015)

In my opinion, I don’t think this movie is a romcom, as it provides a more realistic scenario in love. The movie doesn’t give you any advice on how to make a long distance romance work, but shows how a long distance relationship may become. Perhaps, the funny part is the situational irony in the plot twist.

Watch these if you want some ‘heart fluttering’ moments:

ROMANCE

Liar x Liar

Country: Japan  |  Genres: Romance, Drama  |  Duration: 1 hr. 57 min.  |
Trailer: Panap Media
Minato (Mori Nana) is a university student and has a fear of germs. Her mother remarried, and she has Toru (Matsumura Hokuto) as her stepbrother. Toru is a player, which makes Minato uncomfortable with Toru and his ways with women. They made an agreement where Toru will not approach Minato within 2 meters when they are outside. One day, because of her photographer friend’s request, Minato puts on make-up and wears her friend’s high school uniform for a photo shoot. While she is out walking in public, she runs into Toru. She unexpectedly lies to him about her identity. Toru falls in love with her at first sight.

Upcoming Summer

Country: China  |  Genres:  Music, Romance, School, Youth  |  Duration: 1 hr. 55 min.  |
Trailer: AsianFilmFans  |  Where to watch: Netflix
This is a coming-of-age journey of teenagers struggling with unique challenges during the senior year of high school. Chen Chen (Zhang Zi Feng) failed the gaokao (National College Entrance Examination), while Zheng Yu Xing (Leo Wu) had to return to school because he missed the exams. The two ended up meeting because of a lie Chen Chen told, and had to come up with a way to quell the doubts of their teachers and parents. Having met in their youth, they hold hands as they face different problems growing up and forge a deep friendship.

We Made a Beautiful Bouquet

Country: Japan  |  Genre: Romance  |  Duration: 2 hr. 4 min.  |
Trailer: Panap Media
5 years ago, a 22-year-old Yamane Mugi (Suda Masaki) and a 22-year-old Hachiya Kinu (Arimura Kasumi) both missed the last train at Meidaimae Station in Tokyo and they met. Their relationship develops romantically. 
I think, besides the romance genre, this movie can also be categorized as life genre. As years go by, both are busy with each other’s work to create a future together to get married. But can their love withstand all the pressures in life?  

In November, the lead actors Suda Masaki and Arimura Kasumi have been awarded as Best Actor and Best Actress for their best performances in this movie. 

Watch these if you want some warm and relax feelings:

FAMILY AND LIFE

You’re So Precious to Me 

Country: South Korea  |   Genres: Drama, Family, Melodrama  |  Duration: 1 hr. 40 min.  | 
Trailer: Eon Talk  |  Where to watch: Viki
Park Jae Shik (Jin Goo) is haunted by debt and has lived as a loner his entire life. Because of some very tragic circumstances and a plot to scheme money, he is brought together with little Lee Eun Hye (Jung Seo Yeon), a child with both hearing and visual disabilities. This movie follows this odd couple as they change each other’s lives and try to communicate.

My Amanda

Country: Philippines  |  Genres:  Friendship, Life  |  Duration: 1 hr. 29 min.  |
Trailer: Netflix  |  Where to watch: Netflix
Best friends TJ aka Fuffy (Piolo Pascual) and Amanda aka Freamy (Alessandra De Rossi) are incredibly close. Watch them navigate their enduring friendship, while each deals with their complicated outside romantic relationships. Please note, this is not a romance, although the ‘friendship’ chemistry between the main actors is incredible. The actors have worked together for a long time, not only as costars but also behind the scenes as producer and director.
This is my first Filipino work ever. It’s quite interesting to watch the way they made a movie that is unique from other country’s shows. I got to see the beautiful landscape of the Philippines, people, culture, and hear their Tagalog mixed with English language. I still cannot watch their super long teleserye (Filipino drama) yet, though!

Watch these if you want to encounter new experiences or exotic locales:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE

The Curse of Turandot

Country: China  |  Genres:  Adventure, Romance, Fantasy, War  |  Duration: 1 hr. 51 min.  |
Trailer: AsianFilmFans
The plot follows Princess Turandot (Guan Xiao Tong), who is cursed by mysterious bracelets that cause the princess to become cruel. Foreign princes who come to court her must solve three riddles, and only then will she be freed from the power of the bracelets. Calaf (Dylan Sprouse), an ordinary citizen, risks his life to answer the riddles to save her.
This movie is an adaptation from Turandot, a three acts opera by Giacomo Puccini. Any reader who knows this opera shouldn’t expect the film follows the opera faithfully, despite the opera’s version of the story also being set in China. 

Super Me

Country: China  |  Genres:  Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy  |  Duration: 1 hr. 40 min.  |
Trailer: Netflix Asia  |  Where to watch: Netflix, Tencent
Sang Yu (Darren Wang) was once a struggling screenwriter. His life changes overnight when he suddenly possesses the special ability to take valuable items from his dreams into real life. The down-and-out writer becomes rich, even succeeds in pursuing Hua’er  (Song Jia) whom he’s had a crush on for many years. However, Sang Yu gradually realizes that the rewards reaped from a good night’s sleep is not all that simple and there’s a hefty price to pay when he is pushed to the edge.

There is some confusion regarding the ending, possibly because this movie is not a pure fantasy as people have expected. You can get some explanation from this article here. It’s in French, but can be google-translated easily.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning 

Country: Japan  |   Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Historical, Martial Arts  |
 Duration: 2 hr. 18 min.  |  Trailer: Warner Bros  |  Where to watch: Netflix 
The movie is the last installment of the Rurouni Kenshin series. However, chronologically it’s the beginning of the life journey of young samurai Himura Kenshin (Sato Takeru) who became the Hitokiri Battousai (“Sword-drawing Manslayer”). Kenshin meets Yukishiro Tomoe (Arimura Kasumi), a beautiful young woman who looks serene but always carry a sad face. Little did he know, Tomoe carries a tremendous burden in her heart, which would change the life of Himura Kenshin forever.

Please note that although there is a slight romance in this movie, it’s not a romance. In fact, beware of the tag: “Blood Everywhere”!

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final

Country: Japan  |  Genres: Action, Adventure, Historical, Martial Arts, Fantasy  |  
Duration: 2 hr. 18 min.   |  Trailer: Warner Bros  |  Where to watch: Netflix 
This movie is the fourth installment of the Rurouni Kenshin series, but chronologically it’s the final. Himura Kenshin (Sato Takeru) has stopped killing people with his sword and tries to live a peaceful life with Kamiya Kaoru (Takei Emi). However, Kenshin’s past catches up to him, causing the destruction of a restaurant. There, he finds a note with the word ‘Jinchuu’ (() meaning ‘loyalty’) on it.
Specifically for this installment, there is a fantasy element in a form of steampunk fashion. Steampunk fashion is a subgenre of the steampunk movement in science fiction. It is a mixture of the Victorian era’s romantic view of science in literature and elements from the Industrial Revolution in Europe during the 1800s. The fashion is designed with a post-apocalyptic era in mind. (source: Wikipedia)

Watch these if you want to trigger the adrenaline rush:

THRILLER

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Country: China  |  Genres:  Thriller,  Mystery, Drama  |  Duration: 1 hr. 35 min.  | 
Trailer: Cinematheque Trailers
The story was set in 1997 during the hot summer nights in Guangzhou, China. Three people: air-conditioner repairman Wang Xue Ming (Eddie Peng), housewife Mrs. Liang (Sylvia Chang), and Detective Chen (Wang Yan Hui), got entangled in a murder in the darkness when the entire city experienced a power outage. Their fate changed and became intertwined for the next 20 years.
This is a slow film noir (dark film). Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish crime dramas,  particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and motivations (source: Wikipedia). Modern film noir is associated with a low-key, dark-and-light visual style. In this movie it’s represented by green and red lighting.

 The Cinderella Addiction

Country: Japan  |  Genres:  Thriller, Mystery, Crime,  Drama  |  Duration: 1 hr. 54 min.  |  
Trailer: Far East Films
Koharu Fukuura (Tsuchiya Tao) works at city hall. She has ordinary days when she isn’t particularly happy or miserable. Overnight, her life completely changes. Her grandfather collapses, her father is arrested for driving while intoxicated, and her house burns down. She also witnesses her boyfriend having an affair with her colleague. She loses everything that night. Koharu Fukuura is now full of despair. At that time, she meets Doctor Daigo (Tanaka Kei). He raises his 8-year-old daughter Hikari alone, and he proposes to Koharu. He is like a prince to her. She accepts his proposal and they enjoy happy days together. But, one day, she commits a vicious crime. 

With an eerie background music, it feels like you are watching a horror movie. Warning: needs a strong stomach to watch the ending.

Deep

Country: Thailand   Genres: Suspense, Thriller, School, Sci-Fi  | Duration: 1 hr. 41 min.  |
Trailer: Netflix Asia  |  Where to watch: Netflix
Four insomniac med school students who need money, Win (Kay Lertsittichai) , Peach (Kit Krit Jeerapatananuwong), Jane (Care Panisara Rikulsurakan), and Cin (Fern Supanaree Sutichitwong), are lured into a paid and promising neuroscience drug experiment. Unfortunately, it spirals out of control — and they must find a way out before it turns deadly.
This cinematic project began as a collaboration between the production company and Bangkok University to provide opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience in film-making (source: Bangkok Post).

Midnight 

Country: South Korea  |  Genres:  Action, Thriller,  Mystery  | Duration: 1 hr. 43 min.  |
Trailer: Eon Talk
Kyeong Mi (Jin Ki Joo), a girl with a hearing impairment, lives with her mother (Kil Hae Yeon). Working at the customer call center, one day she storms out of an unpleasant dinner with a client and drives home after she picks up her mother. Meanwhile, the murderer Do Shik (Wi Ha Joon) spots Kyeong Mi’s mother waiting for her daughter who went to park her car but changes his target when another girl, So Jung (Kim Hye Yoon), passes him by talking on the phone. So Jung gets stabbed by Do Shik in the back alley and is found by Kyeong Mi, who ends up becoming Do Shik’s new prey.

Ghost Lab 

Country: Thailand  |  Genres:  Thriller,  Horror,  Drama,  Sci-Fi  |  Duration: 1 hr. 57 min.  |
Trailer:
GDH   Where to watch: Netflix
After witnessing a ghost haunting in their hospital, Dr. Wee (Tor Thanapob Leeluttanakajorn) and Dr. Kla (Ice Paris Intarakomalyasut) become dangerously obsessed with obtaining scientific proof that ghosts exist.

BONUS

Flip a Coin: One OK Rock Documentary

Country: Japan  |   Genres: Music, Documentary  |  Duration: 1 hr. 45 min.  | 
Trailer: ONE OK Rock  |  Where to watch: Netflix

Long before I fell into the Asian dramaland rabbit hole, I found Japanese rock band One OK Rock on Youtube and since then became a fan of them. The group consists of (from left to right on the picture): Tomo (drummer), Toru (lead guitarist), Taka (lead vocalist), and Ryota (bassist). I fell for their high energy, wildness, loud music, plus English mixed Japanese lyrics.

Besides releasing albums and singles, One OK Rock also contributed OST songs in Japanese movies, animes, commercials, and video games. Their movie OST songs are: “Lost and Found” in Milocrorze: A Love Story (2011); “The Beginning” in  Rurouni Kenshin (2012); “Mighty Long Fall” in Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (2014); “Heartache” in Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014); “Decision” in Fool Cool Rock! One Ok Rock Documentary Film (2014); “Taking Off” in Museum (2016), “Wasted Nights” in Kingdom (2019); “In the Stars” in Fortuna’s Eye (2019); “Renegades” in Rurouni Kenshin: The Final (2021); and “Broken Heart of Gold” in Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning (2021) (Source: Wikipedia).

Unable to tour in 2020, the members worked for months to put on an online concert that matches the energy of their in-person shows. Watched worldwide simultaneously by over 110,000 fans, “Field of Wonder” was One OK Rock’s first no-audience online live stream. This documentary film reveals the story behind the massive live stream, through three months of intimate footage in the lead up to the show in October 2020, as well as personal interviews that unravel the history of the members of One OK Rock and why they came up with this idea.

The feature image shows Taka performing the last song “Wasted Nights” for the climax of the concert and the documentary.


Acknowledgement and credits: Thank you to the editors who edited this article. I do not own any of the images; credits go to their respective owners. The images are from movie posters, screenshot, and Google search. GIF: pholder.com


Edited by: devitto (1st editor) & Jojo (2nd editor)

movie
film
rurouni kenshin
liar x liar
show me the ghost
caution, hazardous wife
pipeline
new year blues
sweet & sour
upcoming summer
my amanda
the curse of turandot
super me
rurouni kenshin: the beginning
rurouni kenshin: the final
are you lonesome tonight?
the cinderella addiction
deep
midnight
ghost lab
flip a coin
one ok rock

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