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[HanCinema's Image Gallery] "Stray Dogs"

2014/08/22 | | Permalink

A selection of stills from Ha Won-joon's "Stray Dogs"

This debut thriller failed miserably back in January where it was brutally snuffed by the Korean public. Only 1, 144 bothered with Won-joon's thrill-less rural expedition, a sad sum indeed that speaks to the film's serious lack of appeal and appreciation for the very genre it was trying to associate itself with. It's a cynical, manically misogynistic, lacklustre non-event that should be avoided, if not forgotten all together...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Samaria"

2014/08/22 | | Permalink


Prostitution advocates often like to make a point of the fact that, theoretically at least, the act of selling one's body for sex is a victimless crime. Johns are, far from hideous monsters, for the most part normal men with no violent inclinations. "Samaria" takes this well-minded conceit and twists it into a powerful film of terrifying horror. Yes, that's right, any man, maybe a family man, or a co-worker, or an artist- all of them might think that paying to have sex with a minor is a fun casual jaunt, just so long as there's a positive tone about the proceedings...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Birdcage Inn"

2014/08/22 | | Permalink

Ji-na (played by Lee Ji-eun) is a prostitute. Not one of those totally destroyed by life prostitutes, or a hooker with a heart of gold, or a callgirl who considers selling her body for sex to be a magical empowering experience. No, Ji-na's just a prostitute, in the same way most people just work retail. The work is degrading and unpleasant, it makes a mockery of her personal autonomy, and the pay's not that great. But Ji-na's used enough to the indignity by now that she doesn't mind all that much. Besides, it's not like there's anything else she can do with her work experience at this point...More

[HanCinema's Film Review] "Address Unknown"

2014/08/22 | | Permalink

The year is 1970, the location a small Korean town on the southern side of the demilitarized zone. A bunch of bleak looking fields abound in the area, and they look equally dreary in all seasons. The main sources of economic activity are the American military base and the dog meat butchery. Adults ruminate about how wonderful it was back when the war was going on, and their lives had some sort of actual purpose. American soldiers constantly practice their army crawls in anticipation of a northern invasion. The last bit comes off as particularly absurd. Why would the North Koreans want to invade a miserable place like this? And why would the Americans care if they did?...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "It's Okay, That's Love" Episode 10

2014/08/21 | | Permalink

We get into more of Jae-yeol's tragic past in this episode, as the murder is shown in almost complete detail, at least from Jae-beom's perspective. But was it a murder? The more I think about it the less sense the whole situation makes. Their father was a known abuser. This can be corroborated, making it trivially easy for any half decent lawyer to make a claim of self defense. And even if Jae-beom refused to make that defense by insisting he didn't do anything, at the very least it would be a mitigating factor in sentencing. Add that in to Jae-beom being a minor and the lenient nature of the Korean criminal justice system in general...

Look, what I'm getting at here is that this entire portion of the plot only makes sense from a screenwriting perspective. Trying to apply any lateral logic to the situation at all just serves to demonstrate how little sense any of it makes...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The Idle Mermaid" Episode 3

2014/08/21 | | Permalink

Apparently the drama is still setting up the premise. Which isn't as strange as it sounds really- it's just that most adaptations of the original story just assume that we all know how everything works. It's actually very much to the credit of "The Idle Mermaid" that the question is posed- what exactly is true love anyway? Yeah we're supposed to know it when we see it, sure. That's really not much help to anyone who has no idea what the experience is like.

The question is resolved mostly convincingly by the end of the episode, mainly through the help of obvious personality changes...More

[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Temptation" Episode 11

2014/08/21 | | Permalink

"Temptation" is snowballing into a massive knot of churning emotions and erasing any clear line between right and wrong. Everyone is in an agitated state of mind and not thinking very clearly. This is when the fallout from the divorces can truly be seen, in the aftermath of the emotionally messy affair.

It can best be seen in Hong-joo who is no longer a meek flower who never defends herself...More

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