[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 20 Final 2016/07/16,
With Hong-joo mostly out of the way, "Mirror of the Witch" is able to proceed without a villain. Which is to say, instead of having to fight an intractable conspiracy, Jun and Yeon-hee simply solve problems and make wishes come true. This is immensely more satisfying than the skulduggery that has categorized so much of the drama's plot until this point. In context it's not clear whether any of the potions are actually magical at all- it's more about the behavior they provoke,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 19 2016/07/15,
After Yeon-hee is predictably rescued due to a few convenient contrivances, "Mirror of the Witch" finally gets into serious material it should have been exploring a long time ago- serious self-reproachment. Progressing events finally proven to Hong-joo that her theory regarding the curse is at best rather flawed, indicating that at minimum, Hong-joo is not as smart as she thought. She still has to act, but there's a terrified sense of weakness to the villainess now that limits her powers of persuasion,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 18 2016/07/09,
Jun and Yeon-hee briefly have an enjoyable time on the run. Well, all right, being on the run by definition can't really be enjoyable, but they do have some nice flashbacks and even manage to hold hands. Daw. Alas, it doesn't take long for the plot to catch up to them again. Once separated, Yeon-hee completely loses her marbles and goes on a much welcomed rampage. And because there are still two episodes left, Jun has to talk her out of it for some incomprehensible reason,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 17 2016/07/08,
Hong-joo is in jail again, although we know from past experience that this doesn't really mean anything. "Mirror of the Witch" consistently makes a strong argument for a quick trial-less death penalty, not because Hong-joo is evil enough to warrant one, but because the drama takes place in this comic book universe where prisons are made out of cardboard and only serve to temporarily keep the villain out of the way until she's needed again in a few more issues,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 16 2016/07/02,
...So apparently "Mirror of the Witch" is a twenty episode drama? I'd been assuming it was only sixteen. Not sure whether they added four while I wasn't paying attention or if it was just wishful thinking. Considering what little there is for any of the characters to actually do anymore, I'm at a loss for what's going to happen in even the next two episodes, let alone four. Exactly how many contrivances can the drama possibly come up with to keep letting Hong-joo get away at the last minute?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 15 2016/07/01,
It suddenly occurred to me this episode that King Seonjo's decision to keep his sickness secret has never made a whole lot of sense. Like, if you're seriously morbidly ill and the regular doctor isn't cutting it, wouldn't it make more sense to start inquiring for other doctors than to just pretend the problem is going to go away on its own? King Seonjo should have been suspicious of Hong-joo from the get-go. How did she even know he was sick in the first place, let alone have any idea how to cure it?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 14 2016/06/25,
Now that the jar has been destroyed Hong-joo is forced to switch gears to her previous plan to maintain power- King Seonjo's physical illness. Which kind of begs the question of why Hong-joo ever even needed two plans in the first place. King Seonjo mostly liked Hong-joo back when he first invited her to the palace. Now he doesn't, thanks to all the politicking involved with Hong-joo's second plan. We can go back even further than that and wonder why Hong-joo needed to kill the crown prince at all since making him sick would have been a lot more efficient,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 13 2016/06/24,
A tussel over the jar containing the spirit of Yeon-hee's departed brother defines the main conflict this this around, making it fairly easy to keep track of the story. But strictly speaking the only character with any particular reason to care about what happens to the jar is Queen Dowager Sim. Hong-joo only cares because she can use the jar as emotional leverage against Queen Dowager Sim, and everyone else only cares because they can use the jar to break Hong-joo's grip on power,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 12 2016/06/18,
Predictably, Yeon-hee does not actually kill Gong-ju, although doing so would as always solve a great many more problems than keeping her alive for ill-defined ethical reasons. I always find it rather annoying when heroic characters act merciful only when it comes to the big boss. Poong-yeon surely must have killed at least a few members of Gongju's personal guard last episode. I heard slashing sounds,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 11 2016/06/17,
For all the greater logical problems I have with "Mirror of the Witch", Yeom Jeong-ah's performance is a high point. She consistently and convincingly manages to portray Hong-joo as a woman who can talk her way out of death by swordpoint. It's a bit of a surprise no one has realized yet that it would probably be easier to deal with whatever immediate crisis would be created by Hong-joo's death than it would be to try and solve whatever crisis Hong-joo creates next,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 10 2016/06/11,
Now that team Yeon-hee and team Poong-yeon have finally met and teamed up they can...not really do anything more complicated than what they were already doing, because their goals are still as poorly defined as ever. Ugh. I really don't like harping on these motivation issues again and again, but it really messes up the emotional impact of scenes like this when there's no immediate compelling reason for Yeon-hee and Poong-yeon to meet up again,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 9 2016/06/10,
A trip into backstory only serves to further convince me that writer Yang Hyeok-moon is obsessed with backstory to the point of almost completely forgetting that "Mirror of the Witch" even has a present ongoing story in the first place. If I try to look at the drama's plot in terms of a complicated interconnected tapestry, it kind of makes sense. If I try to answer basic questions like "what does character X want to do right now to further his or her goals" I'm at a complete loss as to what's going on,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 8 2016/06/04,
Jun leaves the custody of Yeon-hee's hideaway to find that the situation has deteriorated quite a bit in his absence. Heo-ok's ridiculous charge of Jun being the local serial killer unfortunately still has traction, since whoever is actually responsible for the murders has evidently scoped the situation and realized that Jun is a very convenient scapegoat. Considering the bigger power struggles we know are at play, Heo-ok's petty act of revenge is likely to have long-standing consequences that may well end in his own death,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 7 2016/06/04,
The reunion between Jun and Seo-ri is pretty prickly, as usual because "Mirror of the Witch" insists on restarting the plot from scratch for no reason. Fortunately in this case the dynamic is fairly interesting. We see clearly that Seo-ri and especially Yo-gwang (played by Lee I-kyeong) are just about completely out of patience, and only bothered to save Jun's life in the first place because they are that desperate for useful information,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 6 2016/05/28,
Soon-deuk-i (played by Dohee) is, for this episode anyway, the main character of "Mirror of the Witch". She's a schemer who, in between schemes, is friend to gisaeng Man-weol (played by Lee Cho-hee), who is being stymied in her romantic efforts by a disfigured face. You might be wondering what any of this has to do with Jun's revenge plan, Yeon-hee's seclusion, Hong-joo's dark magic, or King Seonjo's physical malady. There are relating plot threads. Unfortunately they aren't very convincing ones,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 5 2016/05/27,
The prologue portion of "Mirror of the Witch" ends in expectedly gruesome fashion. Yes, that's right- apparently the first four and a half episodes were just prologue. I don't think I've ever seen a drama try so hard to undercut its own story before. At the moment it's not terribly clear why we had to spend so much time dealing with character backstory when five years later the leads are all standard archetypes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 3 2016/05/20,
Poong-yeon (played by Kwak Si-yang) loves Yeon-hee like a brother. Consequently, Poong-yeon is far more frustrated than Yeon-hee about her seclusion, particularly because Hyeon-seo (played by Lee Seong-jae) refuses to explain in clear detail why exactly Yeon-hee requires such elaborate protection. I have a sneaking suspicion that we don't have the full story either- whatever dark magic force keeps hounding Yeon-hee is evidently beyond the power of both Hyeon-seo and Hong-joo,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mirror of the Witch" Episode 1 2016/05/13,
After the dust has settled from a generally disastrous political situation, Queen Sim (played by Jang Hee-jin) ends up having to petition for help from the sorceress Hong-joo (played by Yeom Jeong-ah). The price of all magical aid ends up falling squarely on the shoulders of Hae-ran (played by Jeong In-seon), a willing servant of the Queen. Ultimately, brutal vengeance is promised against those who would use dark powers for the sake of betrayal- with those same dark powers that have left a lasting legacy to Hae-ran,...More
Yeom Jeong-ah Breaks New Ground in Film About Social Issues 2014/11/22, Source,
Out of Korea's 18.78 million wage earners in Korea, 6 million are non-regular or contract workers. Now the movie "Cart" by director Boo Ji-young which opened in theaters last week, deals with the plight of supermarket contract workers who face being laid off. The movie touches on a sensitive topic as big businesses seek to minimize labor costs. Contract workers get lower pay than full-time staff, no job security and fewer or no benefits,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.11.14 ~ 2014.11.16 2014/11/17, "Interstellar" absorbs nearly 80% of the box office pie…
Week two for Nolan's spacey success saw the breakthrough blockbuster add another 1.7M admissions to its Korean cause. "Interstellar" recently crossed the $300M mark internationally, $36M of which coming from Korean screens as it becomes the seventh highest grossing film of the year behind "Transformers: Age of Extinction" ($38M). Unfortunately this galactic stub-guzzler had little competition, and so absorbed over 76% of ticket sales from a greedy 1,410 screenings (close to triple its nearest rival),...More
Cart (2014) 2014/11/14, Source,
Running Time: 110 min.
Directed by: Boo Ji-young
Starring: Yeom Jeong-ah, Moon Jeong-hee, Cheon Woo-hee
Synopsis: Sun-hee is a mother of two children. She has worked as a contract worker for a large discount store for the past 5 years. She has been promised numerous times that she would eventually be promoted to a regular full-time employee. Hye-mi is a single mother and works with Sun-hee as a contract worker. Soon-rye works as a contracted janitor at the same discount store. One day, the contract workers learn that they will be laid off. The workers form a union to fight for their rights and their struggle with the management begins,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2014/11/08, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★ "Set Me Free": A seventeen-year-old boy who grew up in a youth centre dreams of living a model life, but is angered when his father comes by to dump his sibling with him. (11/13)
★★★★ "Cart": A story of the things that happen to a non-contract employee at a supermarket after he is wrongfully dismissed and decides to stand up for it. (11/13)
★★★★ "A Dream of Iron": A visceral documentary that looks back on Korea's history of modernisation and the economic changes that occurred under President Park Jung-hee. (11/13)
★★★★ "The Youth": An omnibus film featuring five shorts about youthfulness, violence, and insensitivity by a variety of young directors. (11/13),...More
[HanCinema's Busan International Film Festival Movie Review] "Cart" 2014/10/11,
The cashiers and cleaning ladies in "Cart" are constantly told to have faith in the system. That's what the morning loyalty oaths are for. As presented in context, this entire scene looks so utterly ridiculous I would probably have doubted these things even exist except that I already have familiarity with the concept. I guess modern capitalism is an actual religion these days. Makes sense really. If corporations are people with religious beliefs what other God could they possibly have?,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Sad Movie" 2013/12/21,
Foreboding title notwithstanding, the first thing that really stands out about "Sad Movie" are the comedic elements. Between the four vaguely related love-centered plotlines, there's this strong undertone of dark humor. There's a somewhat hostile relationship between mother and son, a threatened break-up over unchanging circumstances, a threatened marriage over unchanging circumstances, and a romance where one of the participants is neither seen or heard. It's all as bizarre as it sounds, yet to anyone who's been in these kinds of situations the emotions ring quite true.
What unites all these disparate stories is the overhanging dread of inevitability,...More
Park Chan-wook Retrospective at MoMI - Friday, March 1 Sunday, March 3 2013/02/19, Source, Park Chan-wook, director, screenwriter, and producer, is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers on the international film festival circuit. To celebrate the release of "Stoker", his major directorial debut in Hollywood, The Korea Society and MoMI co-present a retrospective of his work. The special screening of "Stoker" (starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and Matthew Goode) will play on February 28 at 7PM at MoMI.
Park Chan-wook, a director, screenwriter, and producer, is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers on the international film circuit. To Celebrate the release of "Stoker", his major directorial debut in Hollywood, The Korea Society and MoMI co present a retrospective of his work. He debuted with 'The Moon is What the Sun Dreams of' in 1992, but he started to gain international recognition from the sensational movie 'JSA - Joint Security Area' in 2000 which The Guardian praised it as "airy, subtle and playful, and showcases the best elements of modern Asian cinema",...More
Art and Culture 2012/09/20, Source,
And now it's time for our daily arts and culture segment with Michelle Kim. In the Thursday edition, she brings us the latest on new and upcoming movies from Korea and abroad. Hello Michelle [Reporter : ] Hello Conn-young So what movies do you have for us today[Reporter : ] Well, today I'll tell you about three new movies starring three of Korea's most respected vetran actresses -- Jo Min-soo, Yeom Jeong-ah and Lee Mi-yeon. Take a look. Older actresses don't always get the most exciting roles, but this fall, three veteran actresses are front and center as the stars of some of the season's most highly anticipated films,...More
Casting announced for Kim Myeong-min's "SPY" 2012/04/11, Source,
Casting has been announced for Kim Myeong-min's latest project "Spy", a film that revolves around the lives of 5 North Korean agents in South Korea. "Spy" is written and directed by Woo Min-ho, who was also behind "Man of Vendetta" (2010). This movie marks the second collaboration between the method actor and the director-scriptwriter. The film boasts a cast of well-known and established actors. Kim Myeong-min's management agency, MM Entertainment revealed the official cast line-up lead by Kim Myeong-min (39), who will play the role of Agent Kim. Agent Kim is a family man who lives a happy and contented life with his wife and two children. He is disguised as a manager in a company that sells fake viagra imported from China,...More
[TV Antenna] 'Repairing House of Love' corner and more 2011/03/02, Source,
▲ Experiencing Life on Site starts 'Repairing House of Love'
KBS is starting a new corner, "Repairing the House of Love" in celebration of the 50th year of 2TV program "Experience Life on Site". The ice hockey team that got the bronze medal in the 2011 Winter Asian Games will be appearing. They will repair the house of a granny that lives in Yangpyeong, by a big road. KBS forecast reporters Kim Hye-seon and Noh Eun-ji go to a rabbit farm. They go through a battle with twenty thousand rabbits.,...More
[10LINE] Actress Moon Geun-young 2010/05/06, Source,
Clockwise from top center: actress Im Soo-jeong, actor Kim Rae-won, actor Park Geon-hyeong, actor Kim Joo-hyeok and actress Lee Mi-sook [10Asia]
Moon Geun-young Star. Icon. Nation's little sister. Now we call her by her name "Geun-yeong".
Shin Ae-dukMoon Geun-young's grandmother. As a child, Moon began her day watching morning dramas with her grandmother and at nights would fall asleep while talking with her grandmother on what happened during the day with her parents being busy working. Her grandmother told her, "In life, people go through various ups and downs but I don't want you to think about that too much and rather work on refining yourself and grow up to become an intelligent actress". Moon Geun-young's mother told her that the money she makes "is not our money" and suggested in donating it as "a way of investing your love to society". One of the biggest reasons that Moon was able to act from a young age until now without faltering is because of the unconditional support she received from her family,...More
New SBS drama looks at working moms 2008/07/29, Source, With the 2008 Beijing Olympics on the horizon, television networks are hard pressed to churn out dramas that can draw sports-hungry viewers away from the games.
Various origins of female stars… 'Miss Korea' group falters 2008/03/13, Source, On a breezy spring day in March 2008, the entertainment investigation team of Sports Khan sensed an emergency. The argument between female stars about their influence has become fierce, almost to the point of battle. Accordingly, under the supervision of Detective Choi, the entertainment investigati,...More
First of all, Yeom Jeong-ah gave birth to a 3.5kg daughter by a natural childbirth in Hosan H,...More
Born in the Year of the Rat 2007/12/31, Source, In the Year of the Rat, Korean pop culture is led by those born in another, in 1972. Coincidence or cosmic determination? Readers may decide for themselves. Known as the "president of culture" in the 1990s, Seo Taiji releasef his 15th anniversary,...More
To most of us, life is an unfolding process of love. For others like Soo-mi, however, it is dominated by darkness and fear. Based on the Korean folk tale Jangha and Hong,...More
'The Worst Man of My Life' & Others 2007/08/31, Source, Time now for this week's new release of movies.
There are two romantic comedies, one from Korea, the other from Hollywood, plus a war movie.
Lee Jeewon has this preview.
What do you do when you find your love at first sight, a day after you're married?
That's what happens to a couple of newlyw,...More
A fight for love always sounds romantic, but what if the battle field is an elementary school and the two rivals in love are a female teacher and her 12-year-old student trying to win the heart of a good-looking teacher? A new local comedy successfully takes the fu,...More
Old `Swindle' Still Does the Trick 2004/04/15, Source, By Joon Soh
With cutting dialogue, over-the-top violence and quirky soundtracks, director Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" transformed how movies presented the world of crime. And for years afterwards, every other film released in the United States and Europe,...More
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