[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Chosen: Forbidden Cave" 2016/03/19,
The opening scene of "The Chosen: Forbidden Cave" takes place at a psychiatric hospital. From there we cut to Jin-myeong (played by Kim Seong-gyoon), who helpfully explains that supernatural forces can help people do tasks which are obviously impossible, like when old shamans are able to make improbably high standing jumps. Jin-myeong neglects to explain more directly relevant quandaries, such as why his assistant Ji-gwang (played by Kim Hye-seong) stands behind a plant every time Jin-myeong talks to a victim of demonic possession,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 20 Final 2016/01/16,
We find out who Deok-seon's husband is, and you'll probably be surprised at the groom's identity in the grand wedding setpiece. Not that this is all that important. The main thrust of "Answer Me 1988" has always been on the powerful sense of community. This, oddly enough, is the most important part of wedding preparation presented here- the characters have to come to grips with the fact that they're leaving their parents' home, to start out on something new,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 19 2016/01/15,
The wrap-up for "Answer Me 1988" begins, as we close here with a sort of pre-epilogue. Nothing is fully resolved quite yet, and indeed, as the cliffhanger reminds us, most of the adult characters really aren't even aware of what's going on romance-wise. That's because the major setpiece is a love letter to the parents of "Answer Me 1988"- the ones who did their best for their kids, and each other, and who will always have a loving community in thanks for that,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 18 2016/01/09,
It's the little touches that makes all the difference in "Answer Me 1988". Pay close attention to the set design here. It looks like the characters are just hanging around in the same neighborhood and the same houses they were this entire time and yet somehow, everything looks a tad shinier. A tad cooler. Especially the characters themselves. Note how Taek very nearly appears cool and attractive now, even though he mostly acts the same. What's causing these changes? The haircuts? The beer? Or just...the nineties?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 17 2016/01/08,
The theme this episode is on pain, and how we recover from it. On the literal level it's just physical pain. Seong-gyoon is still smarting from his wound, and elsewhere other characters also deal with disabling accidents. But on the more powerful metaphorical level the main topic under discussion is emotional pain, as every potential romantic couple separates save for one. Then, one cute time slip montage later, we've jumped five years ahead to 1994,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 16 2015/12/26,
With this episode "Answer Me 1988" attempts to explain why its story, to the extent this drama has a story at all, moves so slowly and with so little apparent inertia. Somewhat paradoxically, the reason for this is that the characters are mostly doing all right. They're happy. And the surest way to risk destroying happiness is through radical change. Making a love confession requires courage, not because we're scared of rejection, but because we're scared that the possible potential change could be for the worse,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 15 2015/12/25,
Story has never really been a strong point of "Answer Me 1988". There's very little conflict to speak of, and what conflict we do get tends to be solved without much aplomb. Note how Seon-woo's reaction to the big emotional discoveries of the last episode is to...play catch with Taek's dad. Even bearing in mind the rather mild twist that comes out of that exposition, there's not really much more to that scene than what's right there on the surface,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 14 2015/12/19,
One of the nicer parts of "Answer Me 1988" is how incredibly even-handed the drama is with character focus. Part of this is probably just a necessity of production- if Deok-seon was actually the focus the way lead characters normally are I'd expect Hyeri would have collapsed from exhaustion due to overwork by now. Instead, her role here is subdued to a mild act of heroism while focus instead shifts to Jeong-bong and Mi-ok. In case you don't remember who those characters are- Jeong-hwan's older brother and Deok-seon's shorter female friend,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 13 2015/12/18,
Bo-ra helpfully narrates the theme of this episode at the closing. This is fortunate, since until that point I was at a bit of a loss as to what the title card, a linguistic variation on the title of "Superman is Back" variety show, had to do with the episode proper. We don't really get to see that much of men taking care of their families, unless you count Seong-gyoon's misadventures trying to fix household appliances back in the days before it was cheaper to just buy new. Indeed, one memorable sequence involves the entire neighborhood getting riled over a nonexistent crisis,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 12 2015/12/12,
The theme this episode is love- nothing too excessive. As usual "Answer Me 1988" is focused on the subtle nuances of living in a close community, and this manifests best in the exploration of the relationship between So-ra and Seon-woo. It needs to be noted, once again, that this romance has a fairly unusual dynamic because these two literally grew up together. For them, dating isn't really a "get-to-know-you" thing because they already know each other,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 11 2015/12/11,
Ah, Deok-seon. She's such a girl. Her friends too. I don't mean that as an insult- I'm just surprised watching "Answer Me 1988" and realizing how rare it is to see teenage girls on TV act like, well, like dumb teenage girls, in the same way that teenage boys can always be relied on to act like dumb teenage boys. And in the case of Deok-seon, this is exhibited with her puppy-like ability to develop romantic feelings for any boy she thinks will reciprocate them,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 10 2015/12/05,
Similar to last episode, there's not so much plot here, especially in the first portion as "Answer Me 1988" sticks to situation comedy. After strong episodes, or more specifically strong scenes of strong episodes, it's easy to get a little annoyed at low-stakes action like but I just have to remind myself that adolescence is a slow-burn and it's not really reasonable to expect that every big storyline event is going to receive a proper build-up. Getting hit with revelations out of nowhere is a big part of the fun. I certainly wasn't expecting a loveline to form after the appearance of the Bubble Bobble Mafia,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 9 2015/12/04,
The first portion of this episode moves pretty slow. It's just a token variety of the usual simple character jokes and pop culture references that "Answer Me 1988" always uses as a placeholder. There's nothing terribly bad about this. The jokes are cute enough but the material is uninspiring. That much changes after the first commercial break, at which point an unexpected event results in Taek unexpectedly getting to spend quite a bit of time with Deok-seon,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 8 2015/11/28,
The various plotlines in this episode don't really coalesce into a good overall theme. If you want to get really technical there are two story points involving a secret boyfriend and a secret girlfriend. Although neither of these are really especially dynamic plot elements, except to the extent that the question is asked, what kind of boyfriend could Bo-ra have that we've never seen much physical evidence of his existence? The answer to that question being, well, not much of a boyfriend at all really,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 7 2015/11/27,
The main theme of this episode is about how to express love. The first half generally details the worst ways of doing this. We find out, for example, that with more contextual information Seon-woo's attempt at a romantic confession was actually kind of a stupid thing to do. Although really, given that he was acting on advice from Deok-seon what other outcome could we have been expecting? No wonder Bo-ra's face betrayed zero trace of emotion last cliffhanger,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 6 2015/11/21,
Taek (played by Park Bo-geum) is a Go prodigy who has been having a bit of a slump lately. I haven't felt much need to discuss Taek because, well, there's not really much more to say about the character than that. Taek's kind of an idiot outside of the whole Go prodigy thing but his friends and family love him because why wouldn't they? "Answer Me 1988" is dealing with a time period where it wasn't especially important that people fit into neat easily defined categories,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 5 2015/11/20,
Even though the young characters are the main billed actors of "Answer Me 1988", I frequently get the feeling that it's the parents who are the real protagonists of the drama. The conflict of this episode is a case in point- the three main storylines are about the worries mothers have regarding what happens to their children when they're not looking. This being 1988, there are good precedents for that. There weren't any "don't try this at home disclaimers" for silly stunts seen on television. A lack of cell phones made checking up at home difficult. And also there was the whole college student movement getting into fights with the secret police,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 4 2015/11/14,
Deok-seon wants to go to university. Her family is ambivalent about this. Which is weird to see because in the modern day this desire is so utterly banal that it barely even counts as a desire. In South Korea (and the United States too for that matter) everyone is supposed to go to college. It's not a factor that's influenced by such rational circumstances as money, career goals, or scholastic aptitude. As is usually the case with "Answer Me 1988", looking at the situation as presented in this drama mostly just makes me wonder why the world we live in today is the one that comes off weird in comparison,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 3 2015/11/13,
The opening scenes are, rather innocently enough, about how girls like boys, but don't really know anything about them. That's the problem with having a peer group that also consists of teenagers. Everybody is equally clueless, but not everyone knows that they're equally clueless. This also leads to embarassments like Deok-seon's bizarre use of makeup. That's not a process which can or should be hurried. A pity the older So-ra is too busy being aggressive to offer much useful advice to her younger sister,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 2 2015/11/07,
Seong-gyoon (played by Kim Seong-gyoon) is kind of the goofy uncle in "Answer Me 1988". Aside from doing a ridiculous dance at regular intervals Seong-gyoon also tries to show off how happening he is with modern technology by buying a camcorder. Ah, nostalgia, how sweet it is to remember that people used to consider having their every waking moment caught on camera to be weird. Seong-gyoon isn't a dork, the man's just so ahead of the curve that everyone has confused him for a dork,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Answer Me 1988" Episode 1 2015/11/06,
The real unspoken hero of the "Answer Me" series has always been whoever is in charge of the background designs. It could not have possibly been easy to pull together that much obscure eighties merchandise. Did the production team actually find this old Hidori stuff lying around somewhere, or did they have to custom order it? Everything looks so new and fresh, which makes sense because in 1988 this pop culture was both hip and relevant. Not so much today,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2015.08.21 ~ 2015.08.23 2015/08/24, "Veteran" eyes 10 million…Ryoo Seung-wan's crime drama "Veteran" has once again emerged at the top of the pile as it enjoys a third week as Korea's number one. "Veteran" saw another sizeable weekend as it added 1.3 million admissions (43%) to move its total tally to just over 9 million ($59.1 million). Last weekend Ryoo's crime drama attracted a massive 2.2 million filmgoers, and the weekend before that saw 1.9 million flock to its screens, and now the films is poised to join an elite group of South Korea films that have claimed 10 million admissions,...More
Kim Seong-gyoon, "I'm like a snack bar" 2015/03/17, Source, Actor Kim Seong-gyoon can be a bone-chilling bad guy at one point and weaken the hearts of women with his warmth the next.
We met Kim Seong-gyoon at a café recently and he said, "I thought being rough and tough was the only way I could survive. I have been selfless not caring about the money and just continuously doing small roles. I was happy". He was happy doing what he wanted to do but now he's going a different way,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Deal" 2015/03/07,
Kang-cheon (played by Park Seong-woong) is a übermensch serial killer. While I don't have any inherent problem with serial killer tropes in general, the übermensch serial killer is especially annoying primarily because it's so heavily fetishized. Dostoevsky pointed out the issues with the idea of the extraordinary man being a murderer way back in the nineteenth century. And this was back before serial killers and their bizarre fan clubs even came into existence. Newsflash- actual serial killers are cowards who would piss their pants if they had to face a task more difficult than hand-to-hand combat with a forty kilo accountant,...More
Veteran actors shine in 'The Deal' 2015/03/04, Source,
The stellar performances of three veteran actors take center stage in upcoming film "The Deal". The plot is hardly groundbreaking - the subject matter is a serial killer being chased by a detective and a victim's husband plotting his revenge,...More
Korean movie of the week "Secretly and Greatly" 2015/02/19,
Korean movie of the week "Secretly and Greatly" (2013) Directed by Jang Cheol-soo With Kim Soo-hyeon-I, Park Ki-woong, Lee Hyun-woo, Son Hyeon-joo, Park Hye-sook, Kim Seong-gyoon,... Synopsis As a North Korean sleeper cell agent, Ryoo-hwan infiltrates the South and assumes the role of a village idiot in a rural town. He observes the townsfolk and waits patiently for his mission. One day, after 2 years of playing the role of the village idiot, fellow elite spies Hae-rang, posed as a rock star and Hae-jin, posed as an ordinary student, are dispatched to the same town as Ryoo-hwan. He helps the other two spies settle in and teach them how to adjust in the South. There is a sudden drastic political power shift in the North and all three spies receive an urgent mission: commit suicide,...More
Tiny-G's Dohee refuses to work 2015/02/09, Source, Apparently Dohee from Tiny-G is refusing to work.
A source claimed, "Dohee has changed her mind about singing after debuting as an actress. She's refusing to do anything with her team and it seems like she's set on leaving the team",...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.10.31 ~ 2014.11.02 2014/11/03, "Gone Girl" stays put…
Last week's number one, David Fincher's "Gone Girl", retained the top spot during its second week out, only this weekend the victory was a little more convincing. Fincher's latest added another 452K admissions (34%) to bring its two-week total now to 1.2M ($9.1M). Its closest rival came again via Jang Jin's "We Are Brothers" (starring Jo Jin-woong and Kim Seong-gyoon), which managed to register just over 243K (17%), but Jin's comedy drama still finds itself 200K short of that million milestone,...More
Seong Yoo-ri's behind cuts, 'glow' 2014/09/18, Source,
Actress Seong Yoo-ri's unedited behind-the-scene cuts have been revealed.
The advertisement she modeled for is for cosmetic brand Sisley and she can be seen wearing a shoulder-revealing purple dress. Despite the fact that the pictures are unedited, Seong Yoo-ri's skin still looks flawless and amazing,...More
Kim Seong-gyoon in "Answer Me 1994" 2013/10/16, Source,
Actor Kim Seong-gyoon takes on the role of Sam Cheon-po, a college boy from the outskirts in the new tvN drama "Answer Me 1994".
Pictures of the actor were released by his agency on the 17th and he's transformed into a country boy. He is wearing a long coat with wide pants. He is looking up into the Seoul sky with a determined look on his face which reflects the image of a newly Seoul-bound country boy,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2013/10/05, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★ "The Hero": A single dad who plays a super hero on T.V. decides to really become "Thunder Man" for his son after his show gets cancelled. (10/08)
★★★★★ "Hwayi : A Monster Boy": A young boy is raised by five talented fathers into a life of violent crime, but begins to question his past when he is forced to pull the trigger on their latest job. (10/09)
★★★ "Red Vacance Black Wedding 2": An unmarried woman is harassed by a persistent suitor, a dangerous man who doesn't take no for answer. (10/10),...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] The Bystander Effect: "Neighbors" 2013/01/26, Film: "Neighbors" (이웃사람; I-woot-sa-lam)
Director: Kim Hwi Writer:Kang FullStars: Kim Yoon-jin, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Sae-ron & Kim Seong-yoonReview 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 Full's web-based comics (called webtoons in Korea). In fact, "Neighbors" is Pool's most successful adaptation to date,...More
'Project 577' wraps truth in laughter 2012/08/30, Source,
Actors Ha Jeong-woo, front left, and Kong Hyo-jin, front right, star in "Project 577", an uncategorizable film masterminded by Ha and directed by Yi Keun-Woo. While these two bare just their feet and not much else personally, the film delivers a critique of the state of Korea's film industry. / Courtesy of Dasepo Club
By Kwaak Je-yup Categorizing this film is a perplexing job; the promoters are describing it as a "real variety movie", which does not help. "Project 577", masterminded by Korea's most in-demand actor Ha Jeong-woo and directed by relative newcomer Lee Keun-woo, claims to be a documentary about Ha and his friend trekking for 577 kilometers, from Seoul to Haenam, South Jeolla Province, the peninsula's southernmost point,...More
"Nameless Gangster" released in North America 2012/03/28, Source, PREFACE
"My reason for wanting to tell a story from the '80s is because I feel that the current societal climate is very similar. About 3 years ago I got a feeling that the era of my deceased father was suddenly coming back, an era in which everyone's good will is only reserved for their own survival and well being. But like my own father, I did not see these people as selfish fools, but sympathized with them. I wanted to portray these characters not as criminals who were on the wrong side of the law, but as people who tried their best to survive and thrive despite the conditions they were in. People innately follow the times they live in and those who ride it architect the next generation. The '80s in South Korea were an incredibly volatile decade in which a single person's decision could change the direction of an entire era. Following men who lived through that decade, I wanted to show that the eighties had more dramatic appeal than any other decade. I wanted to inquire whether it was the times that were changing the people, or if it was the people that were changing the times. Most of all, I hope that the audience can laugh and identify with these men who lived like kings in the face of loyalty, betrayal, and ambition".,...More
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