[HanCinema's Film Review] "DongJu, The Portrait of A Poet" 2016/04/09,
Once upon a time DongJu (played by Kang Ha-neul) was a young poet living under Japanese Occupation, one place or another. The thirties, sadly enough, were the apex of empire-building the world over, and there are certain ethical questions DongJu runs up against constantly. Is it morally acceptable to help the Japanese Empire in any capacity? Is it ethically sound to be a poet rather than a doctor in an age where doctors seem way more important? Is it wise to express political opinions at all? How far can one go in the name of resistance before fighting back becomes foolhardy?,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.03.18 ~ 2016.03.20 2016/03/21,
"Zootopia" gets more screens and scores...
"Zootopia" was released in Korea mid-February and for the first three weeks it sat in third place; after its America release, however, the film shot to number one. This past weekend "Zootopia" (also known as "Zootropolis") banked another 358 thousand admissions ($2.5 million) to bring its total tally in Korea now to 2.8 million ($18.7 million; 30%). Worldwide, Byron Howard and Rich Moore's "Zootopia" has grossed over $591 million,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.03.11 ~ 2016.03.13 2016/03/14,
Disney's "Zootopia" claws its way to the top...
Walt Disney's "Zootopia" arrived in Korea mid-February and for the first three weeks it has steadily occupied third place. Films like "A Violent Prosector", "Deadpool", and "Spirits' Homecoming" have managed to outperform Disney's latest, the company's 55th animated feature, but the film found new impetus in the wake of its American release (March 4) and has now climbed to the top of Korea's box office during its fourth week out,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Like for Likes" 2016/02/27,
If you're looking for a cute, feel-good film then look no further than "Like for Likes", a film directed by Park Hyeon-jin ("Lovers of 6 Years") and starring an incredibly gifted cast. It focuses on dating in the internet age where activity on social media can make and break relationships. The film released in South Korea February 17 and will open in New York February 25. In Korea, its first week resulted in fourth place at 12.2% on box office charts with 320,000 moviegoers. Afterwards, the film will screen in 17 major locations in North America,...More
[Interview #2] "Like For Likes" How Choi Ji-woo deals with criticism 2016/02/15, Source, Choi Ji-woo was recently interviewed in a café for the movie "Like for Likes" and she said, "I don't get hurt easily. I forget things quickly. Although, I think about what happened at night when I go to bed, but it doesn't last very long".
We asked if that was her character or did she develop this habit as an actress and she responded, "Most of it developed during my career. I just found a way to protect myself and experienced helped me",...More
[Spottoon Review] Shall We Have Dinner Tonight? Drama Dream Cast 2016/01/30,
There have been rumors since last year that the webtoon Shall We Have Dinner Tonight? by See-In Park will be made into a drama. It makes complete sense since the story combines love and food in a thoughtful way that is bound to grab viewers. There hasn't been any significant casting news of late but we can't help but wonder who might bring these characters to life.
The story is about two strangers named Doe-Hee and Hae-Kyung who become friends after being mistaken for a couple at a restaurant they both chose to dine alone in one night,...More
[BIFF] Stars talk in Haeundae, Busan 2015/10/04, Source,
In Busan, stars appear day and night. More and more stars have participated in this year's Busan International Film Festival which celebrates its 20th this year. How exciting, meeting the stars of movies in real life. The stars in Haeundae have been responding to fans' support in various ways.
The opening was hot. The opening ceremony of BIFF was held on the 1st. Although the weather was rough with gale warnings, fans gathered to see their favorite stars,...More
Star Focus to hold 'Korea Movie Stars Award' 2015/06/15, Source,
It is anticipated that Korea's top movie stars will show up at one location on June 15th.
To celebrate the start of Star Focus, an official magazine by The Korea Film Actors' Association and MGM Media, publisher of Star Focus, 'Korea Movie Stars Award' will be hold in Grand Ballroom of Conrad Seoul Hotel at 6 PM on June 18th,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 10 Final 2015/05/30,
First, just to make it totally clear, the final case of "Missing Noir M" is just another one-off case. We get some details regarding Soo-hyeon's backstory, but it's made quite clear that we're only getting all the answers if "Missing Noir M" is renewed for a second season. I'm not sure that's happening- to be honest I'm not sure I want it to happen, because while "Missing Noir M" has certainly had its strong points, right to the end the drama seems determined to make things as depressing as possible,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 9 2015/05/23,
The cast helpfully explains what they've figured out regarding the mystery so far, and Soo-hyeon helpfully puts the clues together in such a way that we've at least got a basic narrative explaining what exactly has happened to date. In short, there wasn an incredibly elaborate scam perpetrated for the sake of extorting money from the woman who wanted to find her daughter again. This ends up going badly because, like most elaborate scams that involve large numbers of people, this one required that all the participants shut up and act predictably,...More
Kim Woo-bin's high school photo 2015/05/18, Source, Actor Kim Woo-bin appeared on the Cult Two Show and talked about his twenties.
A picture of the actor in his high school days wore glasses and had thinner eyebrows than now. His cheeks are much chubbier,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 8 2015/05/16,
Thirty years ago a mother lost her daughter. Miraculously, they were recently united, and their familial ties were confirmed on national television. Then the adult daughter disappeared again. "Missing Noir M" makes one thing clear right away- she was being chased by some sort of gang. The detectives don't see this information directly, but it's not actually much of a deduction. The continual question here is just- why?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 7 2015/05/09,
This episode didn't seem that depressing. Bear in mind I'm not sure whether this is objectively true or whether my standards have just been completely warped by the miserable tone "Missing Noir M" has been driving at lately. The opening scene appears to be underage prostitution for pity's sake, and there are murders involved. But at least we don't wallow in that too much. Even the ending, while initially annoying, did feel appropriate in long perspective,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 6 2015/05/02,
A video surfaces on the Internet of an obviously terrified woman begging for help. Obviously the question quickly arises as to whether or not the video is fake- but as far as the detectives of "Missing Noir M" are concerned, the important problem is simply to find her first and ask questions later. As usual, delving into the greater context of the case quickly manages to bring up some rather dispiriting, discouraging stories that are just, well, really grim,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 5 2015/04/25,
It's getting difficult to recommend "Missing Noir M" at this point. The issue isn't that the drama's getting bad exactly, but more than the stories are consistently really kind of dispiriting. This is even explicitly discussed at the end- technically this is once again another mostly happy ending where no one actually got hurt. Or at least, no one got hurt who didn't already mostly deserve it. Poetic justice is a pretty sorry recompense for serious loss though,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 4 2015/04/18,
This mystery's format somewhat disappointedly takes the same overall thrust as the last one. We discover, as expected, that the apparent victim in this case isn't quite so innocent as he may have initially appeared. What's more, there's a lot of lateral thinking involved here to figure out just how far this conspiracy extends, and how many characters have hidden agendas and past crimes that they're making a point of covering up,...More
[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets 2015/04/18, "Twenty" makes it way to America, Fabien presents three new Korean releases for Modern Korean Cinema, CJ Entertainment reaches out to fans on Facebook with new initiative, and reservations for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" start flooding in,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Twenty" 2015/04/11,
I'm just gonna come out and say it- being twenty really sucked. Goodness knows culture tries to convince us that this was the greatest time of our lives, but the simple reality is that when we were twenty, we had no idea how the world really worked. And yet, we were just barely smart enough to think we had a grasp on what was going on, even if it was obvious that we did not. So it is with Chi-ho (played by Kim Woo-bin), Dong-woo (played by Junho) and Kyeong-jae (played by Kang Ha-neul). They became friends under peculiar circumstances, and these are the circumstances in which their relationships continue to awkwardly exist,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 3 2015/04/11,
No murders this time as "Missing Noir M" moves into its second case. Now, see, this is what I like about the writing in this drama. Lee Yu-jin shows excellent restraint in just making the crisis about a missing person without having to drag increasingly outrageous crimes into the equation. Certainly the set-up is intriguing enough- an abandoned car, obvious signs of furtive activity, and it all ties back to...an apparently unremarkable married salaryman?,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2015.04.03 ~ 2015.04.05 2015/04/06,
"Fast & Furious" outplays "Twenty" for pole position...
April saw the release of a number of competitive films, five of which entered the fray and featured in this past weekend's top ten. The much-anticipated "Fast & Furious 7" (starring the late Paul Walker alongside Vin Diesel) hit theatres worldwide recently, and Korean audiences welcomed the seventh instalment by raising it up as the country's current number one,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 2 2015/04/04,
The immediate problem our intrepid detectives come up with this episode is simply a lack of suspects. It's like Soo-hyeon says- pretty much everybody in the picture is dead, so what exactly are they supposed to be investigating? As it turns out, there is one somewhat windy trail that eventually leads the team to the culprit. And as is usually the case with a well-crafted mystery, everything seems so obvious in retrospect I'm not actually sure why it took so long for the team to figure out what happened,...More
Twenty (2014) 2015/03/29, Source, "Twenty"
Genres: Comedy and Drama
Running Time: 115 min.
Directed by: Lee Byeong-heon-I
Starring: Kim Woo-bin, Kang Ha-neul, Junho
Synopsis: Chi-ho, Gyeong-jae and Dong-woo are high school friends. Chi-ho is a player who's only interested in seducing women. Gyeong-jae is a top student who becomes extremely shy when he's in the presence of women. Dong-woo wants to become a cartoonist but struggles with the pressures of reality,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Missing Noir M" Episode 1 2015/03/28,
Soo-hyeon (played by Kim Kang-woo) is a US-trained investigator who's very good at math puzzles. Dae-yeong (played by Park Hee-son) is a mostly standard grizzled street cop. Together they...well, they solve mysteries more than they fight crime. The whole reason Soo-hyeon's been dragged out to the field in the first place is because he's implicated in a bizarre crime. The perpetrator of these criminal actions (played by Kang Ha-neul) is apparently interested in matching wits with Soo-hyeon. I guess because in prison he has nothing better to do,...More
When will Sin Ha-gyoon succeed again? 2015/03/08, Source, Sin Ha-gyoon's first adult rated film "Empire of Lust" recorded 320,000 in the first week of its release and came in second at the box office. Despite the fact that it is adult rated, it only recorded half the record of "Kingsman: The Secret Service".
The results can only be disappointing as the movie was released in great anticipation with Sin Ha-gyoon's intense 'bed scene' alongside Jang Hyeok and Kang Ha-neul's performance. The audience gave a thumbs up to the actors' performance but they don't think the sexuality is sexual enough and the story is just not that great,...More
Empire of Lust (2015) 2015/03/07, Source, "Empire of Lust"
Genres: Drama and Epics
Running Time: 113 min.
Directed by: Ahn Sang-hoon
Starring: Sin Ha-gyoon, Jang Hyeok, Kang Ha-neul, Kang Han-na
Synopsis: During the volatile period of the Chosun Dynasty's founding, army commander Kim Min-jae keeps careful watch on the ambitious Prince YI Bang-won, who is not satisfied with his title as the fifth in line to the throne. Min-jae's life becomes entwined with that of Ga-hee, a beautiful gisaeng, when he spends a bewitching night with her and soon takes her as his concubine. But there is more to Ga-hee than what meets the eye. Beneath her noble exterior lies a woman who insinuated herself into Min-jae's life with a heartbent on vengeance,...More
Kang Han-na, "It took me 10 years" 2015/03/03, Source, Actress Kang Han-na writes in two journals every day. One is a journal for the actress and one is a personal daily one. It's a habit from university. She even wrote another diary while she was filming the movie "Empire of Lust". This would be impossible without passion for her work.
She learned endurance through ballet. She's the last one out of three sisters and started to learn ballet along with her sisters when she was 5 years old. Ten years after learning ballet she reached a wall and realized she couldn't step over the boundary. Quitting ballet was how she started to act,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Empire of Lust" 2015/02/28,
Min-jae (played by Sin Ha-gyoon) is a military man on a mission- to keep his eye on Bang-won (played by Jang Hyeok). Well, that's technically the plot anyway. While "Empire of Lust" goes to a lot of effort to nail everything about the background narrative to a specific historical time and place...it's actually surprisingly irrelevant to anything that actually happens. The main important movements in the story are mostly the machinations of Ga-hee (played by Kang Han-na) and Jin (played by Kang Ha-neul). The motivations, typically rape,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2015/02/28, K-Films Coming Soon: ★★★ "Dog Eat Dog": Two vigilantes get bitten back by a gang that targets Koreans abroad. (03/05) ★★★ "Barracks": A group of friends are lured into a private camp with a mad instructor who's out to get them. (03/05) ★★ "Granny's Got Talent": A foul-mouthed granny takes part in a national cussing contest. (03/05) ★★★★ "Empire of Lust": A Joseon commander has to mind a scorned prince as well as a conniving gisaeng during a volatile time in the Kingdom's founding. (03/05),...More
2PM Junho, what makes him sexy 2015/02/25, Source, Junho participated in a pictorial shooting session with a fashion magazine recently and delivered exemplary ideas for what makes a guy sexy.
During the pictorial shooting under the concept, 'This man's night', Junho posed against the night lights of Seoul reflected on the window and showed off his masculine sides,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "C'est Si Bon" 2015/02/21,
The time is the sixties. The place- a hip sixties bar by the name of "C'est Si Bon". Hyeong-joo (played by Kang Ha-neul) and Chang-sik (played by Jo Bok-rae) are two talented young musicians who seem to genuinely despise each other. Enter Geun-tae (played by Jeong Woo), a somewhat less talented man who the other characters hope will even Hyeong-joo and Chang-sik out. It doesn't work. Ultimately these three are only able to form a functional folk band because of Ja-yeong (played by Han Hyo-joo). She doesn't join the band or anything. It's just, you know, Han Hyo-joo. She's pretty hot,...More
[Spoiler] 'Incomplete Life' Si Wan chooses to wait before he leaps 2014/12/06, Source,
On the December 6th, 16th episode of "Incomplete Life", Jang Geu-rae (Si Wan) decides to give away his project plan from him before the company forces him to give up on the proposal.
The management of One International takes away the project plan from Jang Geu-rae, on which he has spent two months without much sleep. The excuse from them is because they cannot put someone who will leave the company soon in charge of such important project. All of the team members of Sales Team 3 resent with the decision that exclude someone while they have been stressing on "We". However, each individual was powerless in front of the reality,...More
Kim So-eun Talks About First Starring Role in Film 2014/07/12, Source, Kim So-eunKim So-eun is expanding her horizons as an actress with her first starring role in a film. She plays a ghost girl who forms a friendship with a boy who can see ghosts in the horror film "Mourning Grave", which was released last week. "I felt a bit afraid about taking the role at first, but I was happy to finally have a chance to appear on the big screen after all those years in television dramas", Kim said,...More
Mourning Grave (2014) 2014/07/05, Source, "Mourning Grave"
Genres: Horror and Thriller
Running Time: 90 min.
Directed by: Oh In-cheon
Starring: Kim So-eun, Kang Ha-neul, Han Hye-rin
Synopsis: In-Soo has a special gift to see ghosts and has become isolated from other students because of this. He transfers to a high school in a rural area outside of Seoul. There, In-Soo meets a female ghost and forms a friendship with her, while classmates disappear one by one,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2014/06/28, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★★ "The Divine Move": Tae-suk is framed for his brother's murder after losing a high-stakes game of Go and vows revenge. (07/03)
★★★ "One Night Only": Two short dramas ("Night Bug" and "One Night") by directors Kim Jho Kwang-soo and Kim Tae-yong-I. (07/03)
★★★★★ "Mourning Grave": A boy able to see ghosts is stigmatised for it. He moves to rural school and befriends a female ghost but soon his classmates start disappearing around him. (07/03)
★★★ "BLACKDEAL": A documentary by Lee Hoon-kyu about public service and privatization in the developed world. (07/03)
★★★★ "Navigation": Three members of movie club take a trip to an isolated village and get lost. They witness a terrible accident and then follow a mysterious navigation device they find. (07/03),...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mourning Grave" 2014/06/27,
In-soo (played by Kang Ha-neul), try as he might, just can't get used to ghosts freaking him out on a regular basis. His attitude starts shifting when he meets a new one played by Kim So-eun. She's friendly, playful, not terrifying, and best of all, has absolutely no involvement in the greater social system of his new school, which quickly manages to get under In-soo's skin. In-soo is greatly relaxed by the fact that he doesn't have to perform around her, or worry about his attitude being taken the wrong way. But his interactions with the ghost inevitably lead to his getting involved in a more standard horror movie plot, one that meets an unsettling, if relatively predictable end,...More
Fusion horror 2014/06/02, Source,
The breaking down of genre is also influencing horror flicks. The answer to the horror crisis is crossing over, which is beyond making the audience scared and surprised.
- Mellow and horror "Mourning Grave""Mourning Grave", which is being released next month, has a little bit of youthful romance in it. In-soo is a boy who has the gift of being able to see ghosts but has left his hometown after seeing his dead friend. He struggles with a ghost girl to fight against the 'masked ghost' that is terrorizing the school,...More
[HanCinema's Year in Review] Raine's Top Six Picks of 2013 2014/01/04,
It is the end of another year in K-dramaland and time to look back and count how many hours I spent watching dramas, running my drama blog, and working on drama-related projects. Since I watched twenty-eight 2013 dramas, recapped three and reviewed nine, and delved into past dramas, that would give me a total of,...More
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