Film: "Neighbors" (이웃사람; I-woot-sa-lam)
Review Score: 4 / 5
Neighbors, they are those shadowy individuals that lurk outside and within your shared spaces. The ones who you sometimes hear through a shared wall, or perhaps run into while attempting to dump your unsorted garbage late at night. They know more about you than you think, and you know less about them than you should. In "Neighbors", all-round creative wizard Kim Hwi fearfully probes the difference between being apathetic towards these blank faces that sleep under the same roof as yourself, and a real sense of community that comes from a collected sense of being, shared goals, and the will to act for that illusive greater good.
Released in 2012, "Neighbors" is another successful adaptation of one of Kang Pool's web-based comics (called webtoons in Korea). In fact, "Neighbors" is Pool's most successful adaptation to date...More
The bitch was sprinting now, faster than I had ever seen her run. I called her name repeatedly but she openly ignored the pleas. I found myself slapping the side of my right leg in frustration and in an effort to get her attention. The long beach taunted me with its scale as I briefly pondered the thought of having to chase her along the seemingly endless strip of cooling sand and shells. I haul her name at her again, my face reddening as passers-by start to turn their heads. She was free, and there was very little I could do for her now. I would just have to trust that she would come back to me, me and the secretly sticky treat I had snuck into my pocket before we left the house.
She was perfect, but at the time I wasn't sure if I could have her. I had seen pictures of her online and, while beautiful and particularly striking, I was also reminded of just how much time, effort, and, most definitely money, it would take to keep her happy, to keep her by my side and coming back to me. I wasn't sure if I was ready, I also wasn't sure if I could, in all honestly, do this to myself again. Was I ready? What about when I leave Korea? Would she come back with me? These were some of the questions I had to ask myself before committing to this 'till-death-do-us-part' relationship, at least that's how I planned to look and it. She was perfect and mine...More
As popular as masked heroes with secret identities are in popular culture, there's surprisingly little real analysis of how this psychically affects the person wearing the mask. Try to imagine yourself treating a person that you genuinely love in a completely different, possibly even violent antagonistic way, solely because you're wearing a mask. Even if you could stomach that kind of lie and deceit, how do you think that would make your loved one feel? What if you discovered that a person who you love was antagonizing you under an assumed identity? Would the reason even matter? Would that make the betrayal any less painful?...More
2013/01/25 | | Permalink
The main characters are retarded father Yong-Goo (played by Ryoo Seung-ryong) and his adorable seven year old daughter Ye-Seung (played by Gal So-won). Circumstances conspire to keep them apart, but through sheer determination and the help of other prison inmates, they're able to find time to be happy together. This family changes the hardened people around them for better. But inevitably, for all these attempts at happiness, tragedy strikes and people left my theater crying. "Miracle in Cell No.7" is an extremely manipulative movie emotionally, and oftentimes feel like it's cheating by forcing the audience to identify with these overwrought situations...More
2013/01/21 | | Permalink
HanCinema's Korean Box Office Review
(2013.01.18 ~ 2013.01.20)
The Korean comedy "Man on the Edge" by Jo Jun-kyoo managed to retain its number one status for the second weekend running. The film logged nearly 900,000 admissions this past weekend and was the clear favourite among moviegoers. "Man on the Edge" stars Park Shin-yang as a gangster who also lives a double life as a shaman; Kim Jeong-tae, Eom Ji-won and Jeong Hey-yeong accompany him on screen as this unique blend of comedy continues to thrills fans. The film now moves onto more than 2.5 million admissions since its release on the ninth...More
2013/01/19 | | Permalink
Film: " The Taste of Money" 돈의 맛 (Don-eui Mat)
Director: Lim Sang-soo
Review Score: 2.5 / 5
Lim Sang-soo came back from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival bitter and dispirited as "The Taste of Money" received the lowest average rating from their panel of internal critics. This, Lim's fifth film, also struggled at the Korean box office with a mere 1,162,699 admissions as this 'spirited' sequel to his 2010 remake "The Housemaid - 2010" failed to perform both local and abroad. Last year the Korean box office was smothered with sexy thrillers and dramas, some more successful than others, leaving many cinephiles and critics to question the significance and scope of such provocative films.
Lim's 2010 remake of "The Housemaid" was also met with scepticism and received a lot of public attention due to its uninhibited portrayal of the salacious and disturbing world of Korea's wealthy elite. Those who caught Lim's modern interpretation of Kim Ki-young's 1960s classic will instantly recognise the film's grand and opulent veneer as the fantastically rich play with power, money, sex, and, of course, fire....More
2013/01/19 | | Permalink
I wasn't able to be there for him, but the ducks I sent did all the talking for me. After a year in Korea together it was time for him to return home and tie the knot with his old college sweetheart. Not being able to be there in person, I scoured Insadong's market for that perfect gift, and I found it. They were dark, brightly coloured and appropriate. And although I could not determine what qualities its maker bestowed upon them, I was sure that this woodcarver had, at the very least, an eye for producing an aesthetically pleasing pair.
The act of presenting a newly married couple with a pair of wooden ducks is one coated in tradition in Korea. It is said that he who carves/creates such a gift must, himself, possess a set number of qualities. So, in order for the ducks to fully take on their role as a traditional wedding gift, the woodcarver must possess five qualities; know as the "five fortunes"...More
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