2017/12/23 | Permalink
The leading men have been strong in 2017. Globetrotters and national favorites, this year has seen a variety of talent capable of helming films for years to come. Vote for your favorite leading man from December 23 to January 6. Results for all categories will release beginning December 30...More
2017/12/23 | Permalink
Competition in 2017 between the talented leading ladies in film was fierce. From action to romance to thrillers, Korean actresses pulled out all the stops, delivering excellent performances and winning accolades domestically and abroad. You can vote from December 23 to January 6 on the nominees for Best Actress. Results for all categories will begin to release on December 30...More
2017/12/19 | Permalink
By the end of the year there is such a colorful array of films to choose from and this year, the HanCinema staff has tackled much of what has hit the silver screen. We've chosen our favorites of the year and want to hear what yours are as well...More
2017/12/17 | Permalink
An excellent drama villain is just as important as a winning hero or heroine. He or she helps to shape the life of a drama, reaching out and ensnaring hearts with inspired hatred, pity, and confusion. The year of 2017 saw some wonderful villains, deadly and manipulative, pitiable and terrifying, and it saw even great actors, young and old, who played them convincingly. Vote for your favorite villain from December 17 to December 31! Results for all categories will be revealed beginning December 30.
2017/11/04 | Permalink
"Hyperkinetic... equal parts Kill Bill, La Femme Nikita, and John Wick!" ~ Pierce Conran, SCREEN ANARCHY
"A fantastic revenge thriller that ups the ante with its complex storytelling and jaw-dropping set pieces". ~ Ed Douglas, IGN
"...a heroine who's no Amazon, but still a wonder woman". ~ John Powers, VOGUE
Directed by Jung Byung-gil
The Endless Vengeance Begins on Digital November 7 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD November 21...More
Back in 1988, Gon (played by Park Joong-hoon) was a singer at the top of his game, with national recognition. But eighteen years later, he's stuck playing songs to sparsely populated rooms. Only Gon's fans from better years remember who the guy is anymore. Them, and people who scour the tabloids for arrest reports of yesterday's old stars. Gon's long-suffering manager Min-soo (played by Ahn Sung-ki) falls into both categories, and so, it falls onto him to bring new light to Gon's life with a new, if unglamorous disc jockey job in rural Yeongwol...More
Gi-taek (played by Park Sung-min) is a terrorist who spends the opening sequence of "Tube" blowing a lot of stuff up with his team. I wasn't sure what he was doing or why he was doing it. Shoot, I wasn't actually sure who the leader of the group was even supposed to be since the whole scene was just constant gunfights and explosions and something about an important data file or whatever. Allegedly these events have something to do with the subway heist that makes up the bulk of "Tube", although even after having seen the full film I'm not so sure about that...More
The set-up for "To Catch a Virgin Ghost" is pretty simple. We have three factions who are after some precious diamonds. Seok-tae (played by Kwon Oh-joong) stole them. The farmers Seok-tae randomly crashes in to are smarter than they look. Lastly, Yang-i (played by Im Chang-jung) is Seok-tae's fellow gangster, and his small team of enforcers aren't leaving until they get what they came for. That synopsis isn't quite as dire as the movie is in context. Seok-tae's ridiculous fashion choices make it clear fairly quickly that the tone is intended to be comedic...More
2017/09/09 | Permalink
"... brutally entertaining just the way it is".
~ Cary Darling, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM
Directed by Nah Hyeon and Starring Kim Rae-won & Han Suk-kyu
Available on Digital & Blu-ray September 19...More
2017/09/06 | Permalink
The highlight of KCON is undoubtedly the concerts where acts from South Korea perform for their international fans, specifically North American Fans. Although K-pop concerts are far more frequent in North America than they once were -- back in 2003 there were only a handful while 2017 has seen over eighty performances -- the number pales in comparison to the number of live performances by American artists, which is to be expected. But that disparity and the unique culture of K-pop fans came together to create an atmosphere not to be forgotten...More
2017/09/05 | Permalink
One of the hottest events of KCON is the red carpet that stars walk. They get up on stage, answer questions, and engage the audience. Without further ado, let's check out the shining stars on the red carpet...More
2017/09/03 | Permalink
Head to KCON and there you will always find something to do, taste, see, smell, and hear. This year saw the biggest KCON to date and part of that was due to the flurry of activity. My photographer Sara and I never experienced a moment of boredom. To help you do the same in the coming years, here is a list of the top 8 things to do at KCON...More
2017/09/02 | Permalink
I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of any big event like a convention or concert or fair is the food. This year's KCON Food Street had traditional and fusion offerings of Asian cuisine that not only tasted fabulous, but looked just as polished as your favorite Hallyu stars. With over a hundred food choices curated by KTown Night Market, Hallyu fans had plenty to satisfy their food cravings. Without further ado, let's feast our eyes on the delicacies of KCON Food Street 2017...More
2017/08/26 | Permalink
"Bluebeard" DVD & Blu-ray combo giveaway for US residents only.
"An intelligent, gripping crime thriller in the vein of the great crime thrillers of the 90's like Seven and The Usual Suspects with some Hitchcockian suspense". ~ Avi Offer, NYC MOVIE GURU
A Beast Exists Within Us All...More
In-goo (played by Song Kang-ho) is a slob of a middle-aged man who works late. This has created a lot of tension at home. In-goo's wife Mi-ryeong (played by Park Ji-young) wants In-goo to knock this off for his own health. In-goo's daughter Hee-soon (played by Kim So-eun) wants him to quit because it's humiliating to be the daughter of a gangster. Ah yes. And that's where the central irony of "The Show Must Go on" comes in. While In-goo may be a professional criminal, he is not what anyone would call cool...More
Junko (played by Lee Chung-ah) is a young Japanese woman of some Korean ancestry who lives in Hokkaido. She had a massive crush on Woo-seong (played by Yang Jin-woo) when he stayed at her home for awhile as an exchange student. So naturally, when it's time for Junko to go to college, she heads off to Seoul to try and find him. Junko boards at a traditional Korean guest house, where she meets Jong-man (played by Park Ki-woong) whose temperament is a tad cruder than Junko was expecting, considering everyone knows how cool and awesome Korean men are...More
So it's been a year since the end of "Marrying the Mafia II", which concluded with mafia heir In-jae (played by Shin Hyun-joon) and prosecutor Jin-kyeong (played by Kim Won-hee) getting married. During that time, the bad guy of "Marrying the Mafia II", prosecutor Myeong-pil (played by Gong Hyung-jin) has been stewing in jail as he prepares to take revenge on In-jae's family, who are technically no longer criminals as they have incorporated into a legitimate business enterprise...More
"The Best Western Movie of the Year Is a Korean Thriller" - GQ
From Iconic Director Kim Jee-woon ("The Last Stand", "A Bittersweet Life", "I Saw the Devil", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird")
On May 2, 2017, CJ Entertainment is releasing The Age of Shadows on DVD and Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack at retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Family Video, and digitally on Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, and Sony PlayStation...More
2017/04/29 | Permalink
"... a vivid and relatable tale". ~ Gary Goldstein, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Infusing its nightmarish scenario with bracing doses of satirical humor, Tunnel is smarter and more sophisticated than most Hollywood attempts at the genre".
~ Frank Scheck, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER...More
2017/04/08 | Permalink
Yeong-hee (played by Kim Min-hee) is a film actress with surprisingly little to do in her copious free time. Allegedly, Yeong-hee does have friends, but Yeong-hee's conversations with them frequently descend into self-deprecating melancholy. I mean really, what else do you call nonchalant references to extramarital affairs, coupled with the suspicious insistence that nah, I don't really care even though it's apparently the only thing I can think of to talk about? Yeong-hee lives in her own sad little world, and through "On the Beach at Night Alone", we feel sorry for her...More
Once, long ago, Go-ni (played by Cho Seung-woo) lost a lot of his family's money. This was through the classic Korean gambling game of Flower War, which is played with Japanese hanafuda cards. Anyway, Go-ni makes the logical decision to gamble harder, eventually becoming a powerful expert in the field of gambling cheating, always looking for the next big score. Through "Tazza: The High Rollers", Go-ni chases big scores again and again and again...More
Married opera professor Yeong-seon (played by Lee Byung-joon) is having a leisurely drive with former student In-jeong (played by Cha Ye-ryun), making a few misguided attempts to impress her. It isn't long before we learn that Yeong-seon is a complete jerk, and actually kind of monstrous even. So it's with a sense of gratification that Yeong-seon ends up getting waylaid in the middle of nowhere, and forced to make conversation with various rural Korean rednecks...More
Soo-hyeon (played by Chae Min-seo) is dying of leukemia and struggles to find the motivation to do much of anything anymore. So her sister Ji-hyeon (played by Yoo Sun) comes up with the bright idea of buying Soo-hyeon a wig as a means to boost self-esteem. It actually ends up working save for one inevitable problem. "The Wig" is in fact a monstrous ghost that exists in this world only to settle a debt owed for a past life of misery...More
Once, long ago, Kang-sik (played by Cha Seung-won) committed a horrible crime. Ever since that day, he has lingered in prison, mostly dead on the inside, with no hope or expectation of mercy or forgiveness. Realizing Kang-sik is not a threat to anyone in this state, prison authorities grant Kang-sik a single day to go home. There he finds an old woman (played by Kim Ji-yeong) and a young student (played by Ryu Deok-hwan) who are supposed to be family yet feel, in reality, like hopeless distant strangers...More
Neurotic Mi-ja (played by Ye Ji-won) is in her thirties and badly wanting a boyfriend. Hyeon-woo (played by Ji Hyun-woo) is younger, attractive, and available, mostly because he happens to be physically present at Mi-ja's new job. That's the faint outline of a plot around which "Old Miss Diary - Movie" surrounds itself. Really the whole project is mostly an excuse for the cast and crew of "Old Miss Diary - Drama" to do an abridged version of the situation comedy. Which is just as well. Who has time to watch two hundred and thirty two episodes of anything these days?...More
Cho-won (played by a ten-year old Yoo Seung-ho) was conceived under auspicious circumstances. Immature high school student Cheol-soo (played by Jung Woong-in, who being in his thirties doesn't look like a high school student at all) and tough-as-nails bombshell Ae-rang (played by Chae Min-seo) hooked up. Thanks to questionable decision-making on both their parts, Cho-won is, in the present day, being raised in the nightclub where Cheol-soo works as an emcee...More
Min-jae (played by Yoon Kye-sang), Chang-seob (played by On Joo-wan), and Dong-wan (played by Lee Joon-gi) are three high school students who struggle with normal high school problems, like the desire not to get beat up every day, get into a good school, and have fun in general. As movie protagonists go they're actually relatively nebbish. Min-jae in particular is a giant weenie, yet he is also the main character, always struggling to find the courage to talk to local cool girl Soo-jin (played by Kim Min-jung)...More
For various morbid reasons, Do-beom (played by Kang Sung-jin), Geun-yeong (played by Yoo Hae-jin) and Jong-man (played by Yoo Gun) have been unable to make anything of themselves in life. They have to resort to petty crime in the meager hopes of recovering from their misfortunes. It is from here that they arbitrarily decide to kidnap famed restaurant personality Soon-boon (played by Na Moon-hee) who has her own problems in life, mainly centering around ungrateful children. "Mission Possible: Kidnapping Granny K" is the story of their unlikely team-up...More
When we're first introduced to Dae-gyoo (played by Im Chang-jung), the man is rather...uncouth. As in, Dae-gyoo is telling a woman about how the person he hates more than anyone else in the world is his father, as implicit justification for his handing over a small sum of money to be used for, well, presumably some sort of procedure that would prevent Dae-gyoo from becoming a father. Then he meets In-kwon (played by Lee In-sung), a generally obnoxious child who soon proves to be Dae-gyoo's nemesis as they travel Jeolla province, somewhat inconveniently, without a car...More
In a colorful yet emotionally dank apartment, Yeong-soo (played by Hwang Jung-min) ponders the general uselessness of his life as he prepares to move into a sanatorium to receive treatment for his various addictions. That's where he meets Eun-hee (played by Im Soo-jung), a woman who is more terminally ill, yet has decent enough health that she has begun acting as a stabilizing force for the various other patients. Gradually, they fall in love, pondering life outside the sanatorium...More
Dong-goo (played by Ryu Deok-hwan) is a pudgy yet strong teenage boy who idolizes Madonna and eagerly looks forward to the day when he's able to scrape enough money together to afford gender reassignment surgery. Dong-goo discovers that there's quite a bit of scholarship money to be had by competing in traditional Korean wrestling (씨름), which involves participants trying to lift each other up by the belt and knocking them down to the ground. Hm, yes, if nothing else "Like A Virgin" certainly gets points for its rather creative premise...More
Dong-cheol (played by Kim Soo-ro) and Man-ho (played by Lee Sun-kyun) are a couple of regular blokes resorting to increasingly desperate measures to try and pay off the interest to White Head (played by Kim Byung-ok), a sinister loan shark who demands payment be exactly on time. Eventually, in their desperation, Dong-cheol and Man-ho kidnap obnoxious teenage girl Tae-hee (played by Ko Eun-ah) as part of an unnecessarily complicated and ill-advised plan to pay off their debts...More
Hye-jin (played by Uhm Jung-hwa) is a tough dentist who knows how to negotiate her way upward through life. Well, at least that's what she thinks. One bad career decision later and Hye-jin is scheming how to best pad her resume on the way to a viable long-term position. And this is how she meets Doo-sik (played by Kim Joo-hyuk), the titular "Mr. Handy" who exists for the sole purpose of solving various problems in a small maritime town. For a fee, of course...More
Dong-hwa (played by Jung Joon-ho) is following his dream in life to be a famous writer. Unfortunately Dong-hwa can't write for snot. Once family, friends and fate have conspired to make Dong-hwa surrender what little of his pitiful pride remains, the man reluctantly takes on a job as ghostwriter for Man-cheol (played by Son Chang-min), who has led a fairly interesting life. We start to see "A Wacky Switch" take place as it becomes clear these two have talents the other would find useful...More
In the cutthroat world of South Korean education, success goes to those who can score an apartment in a gentrified area with good schools. So it is with fishmonger Man-soo (played by Cho Jae-hyun), who following the story of Mencius, drags his son Sa-seong (played by Lee In-I) to Seoul in the hopes of getting him a better education. Alas, Sa-seong would rather just sing songs and hang out with local bad girl Hyeon-jeong (played by So Yi-hyun), whose own father figure Kang-doo (played by Son Chang-min) brought her to Seoul with the same gambit in mind...More
2016/12/30 | Permalink
The battle of the sageuks was fierce, but you made your choice known with your votes! Thank you so much for making the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success! We couldn't have done it without you....More
2016/12/29 | Permalink
Occasionally, there is an actor who blows us away with the power and intensity of his or her acting. These talented people are the "Scene Stealers", the people we can't help but watch when they are on screen. You have voted for your favorite and it's time to reveal who you chose! Thank you for joining us and helping to make the First Annual HanCinema Awards a success!...More
In Joseon, erotica is banned, and can only be obtained in illegal markets. Incidentally, Yoon-seo (played by Han Suk-kyu) is a royal inspector who is a total weenie and also a dishonor to his family. Close proximity to official tough guy Gwang-heon (played by Lee Beom-soo) can only do so much. But a chance encounter with the erotica market slowly leads Yoon-seo on to the path of manly self-confidence, casually tossing aside lowly deocrum that he may better lust for Queen Jeong-bin (played by Kim Min-jung)...More
Seong-chan (played by Kim Kang-woo) was once the up-and-coming chef in an exceptionally prestigious Korean restaurant. One horrible accident later, and he instead puts his talents to use procuring high quality ingredients either for neighborhood locals or, when the situation calls for it, high level dignitaries. But then I'm getting into backstory from the comic book. As far as "Le Grand Chef" is concerned, Seong-chan's main goal is to become the victor in a national cooking competition, establishing himself as the true inheritor of a legendary cooking master long defeated by the Japanese Occupation...More
Seong-hee (played by Ji Jin-hee) is a music critic who's a bit of a snobbish jerk. Observe how he requests a divorce from his wife Yeong-sin (played by Kim Yeo-jin) in a public context, and is then hilariously upended by her own inconsiderate plans ahead of time that Seong-hee failed to properly acknowledge. A pity Seong-hee's not as smart as he thinks. So it is that Seong-hee must team up with his best friend Dong-min (played by Yang Ik-june), who as Yeong-sin's ex-boyfriend, has a few leads...More
Seok-gi (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) is a hot shot lawyer who's a bit of an arrogant jerk. Seok-gi is the kind of guy who thinks he has friends because people are polite to him, and therefore, why bother making new friends? Consider how upon receiving a birthday present from Jin-yeong (played by Kim Hyun-joo), Seok-gi never stops to wonder why no one else gives him birthday presents. Then, Seok-gi meets the other Seok-gi (played by Lee Jong-hyuk) and, well, that's where life starts to get weird...More
Dong-hyeok (played by Kim Rae-won) is a common street thug who is more skilled than most when it comes to the fine art of using physical intimidation and coercion to make other such hooligans do what he wants. Alas, all fun times must inevitably come to an end, and so Dong-hyeok comes under the tutelage of a nefarious criminal enterprise whose primary objective is to...force Dong-hyeok to get a decent education. Through physical intimidation and coercion, when necessary...More
An ordinary man by the name of Man-su (played by Kam Woo-sung) makes his living as an office worker and even in free time has a very extreme aversion to risk. Alas, the modern world does not look kindly upon people who play it safe. Few social crimes are worse than being a person who does not have fun. After his initial outburst of civil disobedience Man-su meets ne'er do well Cheul-gone (played by Kim Soo-ro) and then, well, things just get progressively worse and worse...More
Duk-geun (played by Jung Joon-ho) is a low-level crook who chances upon a fantastic opportunity when an old woman comes to his office requesting the services of a private investigator. Meanwhile, Ok-hee (played by Ko Eun-ah) is a teenage girl who deals with the usual teenage girl problems of trouble with peers and an embarrassing mother, Hye-ju (played by Kim Won-hee), who looks young enough to be Ok-hee's sister. Well, at least that's what it says in the script. Kim Won-hee was thirty five when "The Houseguest and My Mother" came out, but her character is supposed to look under thiry...More
Yoo-na (played by Uhm Jung-hwa) is a generally cranky fashion consultant with a laidback upbeat hotelier husband by the name of Min-jae (played by Park Yong-woo). By chance, they meet a younger couple. Yeong-joon (played by Lee Dong-gun) is a rude businessman with a reputation for accomplishment whereas his wife So-yeo (played by Han Chae-young) works with lighting, and enjoys the small beauties in life. If you thought these couples are mismatched, worry not. Before long the couples themselves also see the irony, and go about the process of "Changing Partners"...More
Following the Japanese surrender in World War II, American and Soviet forces, for geopolitical reasons that didn't make much sense even at the time, created an arbitrary demarcation line splitting the Korean peninsula into two pieces. Overnight, people from nearby villages, family members even, were not allowed to contact each other. "Underground Rendez-vous" has a promising start with this set-up then quickly moves all the focus to a romance between luckless traveler Yeong-tan (played by Im Chang-jung) and local woman Seon-mi (played by Park Jin-hee)...More
Choong-soo (played by Lee Moon-shik), always on the lookout for a big pay-off, takes on a job to locate the first love of the dying Chairman Park (played by Joo Hyun). As it happens, this mystery woman is located in the same general area as the foul-mouthed grannies from the first "Mapado" movie. And so "Mapado 2" begins, less with a promise of actually getting to the story and more rehashing the same jokes which made the first "Mapado" such a fan favorite...More
Bong-goo (played by Lee Ji-hoon) is an attractive teacher with a horrible secret...whenever he becomes sufficiently sexually aroused, Bong-goo farts. But for this obvious flaw, Bong-goo is still chased by a bevy of girls at his new school, who are determined to make him fart. As obviously stupid as this premise is "Wet Dreams 2" manages the bizarre mistake of making itself harder to watch via character development...More
In Seoul, In-jae (played by Shin Hyun-joon) and Jin-kyeong (played by Kim Won-hee) are middle-aged working professionals who are not...always perfectly successful in their immediate career goals, but have overall bright futures. After meeting in circumstances too hilariously contrived for me to want to ruin, they start to date. They they inevitably run into a glaring problem- In-jae is the heir to an organized crime organization, while Jin-kyeong is a public prosecutor. What will become of them?...More
Ji-yeon (played by Kim Yoon-jin) is an ace attorney who is also a loving, if somewhat busy mother. Then, for "Seven Days", Ji-yeon is forced to search the world upside-down to solve an intense high-action mystery that has nothing to do with her. And it all happens so fast. One scene it's happy smiles and the next it's vehicular action then emotional wailing then clandestine meetings with rabid dogs and chase scenes and mental institutions and wow, you can just feel the adrenaline right now through the words of this review can't you?...More
Joon-oh (played by Hwang Jung-min) is an insurance agent still reeling from childhood trauma. At home life with his girlfriend Mi-na (played by Kim Seo-hyung) is pretty much all right, but alas, Joon-oh is kind of dumb and fails to properly take to heart the first rule of insurance claim adjusting- never tells clients details about your actual life. Although admittedly, whoever drafted that rule probably did not anticipate that the company's insurance agents would go through the procession of body horror that is the "Black House"...More
The time is the early nineties. Kyeong-bae (played by Sul Kyung-gu) is a national news anchor who lives a busy, albeit largely unremarkable life with his wife Ji-seon (played by Kim Nam-joo) as they suss out generally boring domestic problems. This is all thrown into an uproar with the intrusion of a mysterious phone call from That Guy (voiced by Gang Dong-won), who makes vague unsubstantiated threats. Really, after a certain point, it seems like That Guy is just a bit of a sadistic jerk...More
Suspicion leads to hysteria when rural villagers link a series of brutal murders to the arrival of a mysterious stranger in the supernatural thriller "The Wailing", debuting on digital September 6, and on Blu-ray™ and DVD October 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment...More
2016/08/09 | Permalink
There is something magical about a K-pop concert. Perhaps it's the well-known talent, finesse, and beauty of K-pop stars. Perhaps it's the zest, intricacy, and cleverness of their music. Perhaps it's the fact that live K-pop performances are not easily come by in North America. KCON USA has been the major organization through which K-pop has become more accessible. Smaller organizers have begun to make places like New York and LA hotspots for K-pop. But the opportunity to see favorites is still far and few between.
Regardless of the "why", the concerts at KCON LA 2016 presented by Toyota were a surreal experience. Let's jump into the first night of concerts when acts from rookie to pro graced the stage and had the crowd roaring the entire time...More
2016/07/30 | Permalink
Kim Hyeong-jun in his debut did what everyone was doing in S. Korea back in 2010. He shot a crime thriller with aesthetics similar to Hollywood, except the grotesque depiction of violence, which is a genuine trait of S. Korean cinema.
When the police discover a dismembered body near a river, they ask from coroner Kang, one of the leaders in the field to assist them in ascertaining the cause of death...More
2016/07/24 | Permalink
KCON LA 2016 presented by Toyota is only a few days away from July 29 to July 31 at the Staples Center. To get you ready for it, HanCinema has one last beauty booth feature to share from KCON NY 2016. We'll take a look at Zazen Bear, Glow Recipe, MustaeV, Duft & Doft with beauty vlogger Sarang. Don't forget that at the bottom of this article are three chances to win beauty products! And now to explore some amazing Korean beauty and skincare companies...More
2016/07/09 | Permalink
KCON New York 2016 presented by Toyota featured over ninety booths in the outdoor convention, and many of them were beauty booths. HanCinema stopped by the booths to chat with the businesses that bring Korean beauty products and skin care to New York and the rest of the world outside beauty-forward South Korea. Let's take a look a four amazing companies that set up booths at the Prudential Center June 24 and June 25 for KCON New York 2016! Don't forget to check out the instructions at the bottom of the article to enter our giveaway. Three mystery beauty gift bags are up for grabs this go 'round...More
2016/07/09 | Permalink
Seondal (played by Yoo Seung-ho) and his buddy Gyeon-i (played by Xiumin) are Koreans who have been conscripted to fight some random war in the desert to improve the international political standing of aristocrat Dae-ryeon (played by Cho Jae-hyun). Although the opening scene is fairly bleak it does not take long for Seondal and Gyeon-i to run into Bo-won (played by Ko Chang-seok), a man who specializes in survival through scamming. Soon enough, the whole gang is free to run increasingly elaborate con jobs on pretty much everyone...More
2016/07/02 | Permalink
The second year of KCON New York held June 24 and June 25 at the Prudential Center shaped up to be an incredible event that attracted 42,000 Hallyu fans, nearly two and a half times as many fans as its inaugural year of 17,000. Half of the fans in attendance came from outside the New York metro area. Not only did fan numbers swell, but the convention enjoyed double the sponsorship, over ninety booths, and triple the workshops and panels. HanCinema was on two of those panels and will also participate in panels at KCON LA July 29 through July 30. We also visited many of the booths at the convention and have fantastic, high-quality beauty items for giveaway. Check out the giveaway instructions at the bottom of this list of highlights to learn how to enter! And don't worry, you will have more chances to win Korean beauty products! Keep following our KCON New York coverage to find out more!
And now, without further ado, here are the top 8 highlights of the KCON New York 2016 Convention of all things Hallyu...More
2016/04/23 | Permalink
"Time Renegades" the time-travel film from Director kwak Jae-Yong ("Daisy", "My Sassy Girl") came in number one its opening weekend and for good reason. It was a slick piece that balanced the two worlds it depicted and the relationship between dream-tied strangers realistically and with plenty of suspense. It premiered in South Korea on April 13, 2016, and had its North American release by CJ E&M on April 22, 2016...More
2016/04/16 | Permalink
Hello HanCinema fans! I am so pleased to bring you our interview with Jasper Cho, the talented young actor who just finished an amazing run as Dr. Daniel Spencer in the hottest drama of the year, "Descendants of the Sun". Thank you to all of you who asked questions. Please read on to find out which two lucky fans had their questions answered by Jasper and to see what he had to say about working on "Descendants of the Sun", how he broke into the industry, and much, much more...More
Korean Box Office Hit "Veteran" Debuts on Dvd And Blu-ray April 5, 2016
Featuring International Star Hwang Jung-min ("Ode to My Father")
South Korean box office sensation Veteran releases on DVD and Blu-ray on April 5, 2016. The film is a hard-hitting crime thriller with a comedic touch from award-winning director Ryoo Seung-wan ("The Unjust")...More
The time is the early nineties in rural South Korea. Eun-ha (played by Jeon Do-yeon) is satisfied with just working as a pseudo prostitute for the foreseeable future. Seok-joong (played by Hwang Jung-min) is satisfied just hanging out with his prize cow, but his mother (played by Na Moon-hee) pushes him to get married so he can talk to actual human girls for a change. Yet rather than accept marriage for the sake of marriage, Seok-joong is determined to push for love- and Eun-ha is his object of affection...More
In 1979 Soo-yeong (played by Jung Kyung-ho) is a student going to university in South Korea. Not very much appears to be happening save for the occasional demonstration (violent or otherwise) to which Soo-yeong is paying very little attention. After a few conversations wherein Soo-yeong's general indifference to anything is discussed, Soo-yeong slowly meets other people and becomes aware of the fact that something isn't quite right at the university. But what?...More
The village of Kanwon is slowly dying. Once energized by the mining industry, those jobs are drying up, and its employees are getting old. Yet for all this, life isn't necessarily all that bad. An early scene depicts a family playing with snow. Does the backdrop look generally bleak and desolate? Sure, but it's kids playing in the snow. What kind of a heartless person can't see the joy in that? Although that's easy for me to say. I don't have to live in Kanwon after all...More
In the present day Ji-sook (played by Park Jin-hee) is happily married and has a daughter. But recent events have Ji-sook looking backtoward her hometown. Ji-sook's mother (played by Kim Hae-sook) is the eternally suffering type, although she does her best to put a bright face on bad situations. Ji-sook's father (played by Jo Young-jin) is physically abusive, and while Ji-sook finds the situation appalling...well, that's just a very rural old-fashioned attitude is all. The things mother will put up for our sake...More
Jeong-wan (played by Lee Mi-yeon) is a freelance photographer currently having a love affair with married doctor Yeong-hoo (played by Kim Joon-sung). Jeong-wan's best friend Hee-soo (played by Lee Tae-ran) is herself married to Hyeong-sik (played by Yoon Je-moon). One might think that as a married woman Hee-soo would disapprove of Jeong-wan's behavior. To the contrary- Jeong-wan and Hee-soo are women of the modern age, who are so relaxed about frank sexual discussion they even watch pornography together...More
Hong-joo (played by Kim Min-joon) is a cop obsessed with trying to collar as many perpetrators as possible. It doesn't matter if he's on vacation, or at a dance club, or even walked outside for a smoke. He needs those handcuffs at all times. Hae-rang (played by Nam Sang-mi) has the opposite problem. She's passionate about working in the field, but for ill-defined sexist reasons is frequently stuck behind a desk. Together, they fight crime...More
Seong-hwan (played by Song Seung-heon), Woo-sup (played by kwon Sang-woo), and Jin-won (played by Kim Young-joon) are three high school students with a dream in life- they're gonna be huge! All-powerful! Rich! Sexy! And bros forever! How they actually intend to accomplish these goals when the boys are dumb and immature is not really explained. Then, as luck would have it, fortune rains upon them from above, so the boys quickly try to figure out how to cash their winnings...More
In preparation for the Athens Olympics, Hye-kyeong (played by Kim Jung-eun) does her best to put together a crack handball squad. In practice this just ends up being a bunch of middle-aged women from previous handball teams and some kids who haven't a chance to specialize in a different sport yet. As if this weren't frustrating enough, Hye-kyeong also ends up being forced to participate with Seung-pil (played by Uhm Tae-woong), a former lover who's also a jerk...More
Killa (played by Shin Ha-kyun) is a man of few words who guns for the big bucks by working as an assassin. Killa likes to think of himself as cool, and even has a bunch of assassin friends who have little presence in "No Mercy for the Rude" except to establish one essential point- that assassins are goofy dorks who overestimate the extent to which their unusual job choice actually makes them interesting. As a film critic, I can appreciate the sentiment...More
Jin Yi (played by Song Hye-kyo) eventually becomes one of Korea's greatest poets, though she is technically a fallen woman, having become a courtesan with the somewhat unusual background of an upper class education. But once upon a time, Jin Yi was just a little girl with curiousity about the world. This curiousity ends up mingled with horror, as Jin Yi discovers the darkness hidden behind the opulence of wealth, and even the secret of her own birth. From there, Jin Yi feels like she has only one choice- to find her own way...More
Depression can come in many forms. For veteran cop Hyeong-joon (played by Cho Jae-hyun), it's the feeling that he failed as a husband and a father, and that no amount of heroic behavior can ever redeem him. For the well-bred Yoon-hee (played by Kim Ji-soo), it's having the promise of a rich high society life with a devoted significant other and yet being incapable of flashing a sincere smile. These two are ready to give up on life- and then they find each other...More
Myeong-soo (played by Jung Joon-ho) is a street rough who gets into fights. The energy is not a complete waste, though, because Myeong-soo's identical twin Hyeon-soo (also played by Jung Joon-ho) has managed to take advantage of Myeong-soo's low maintenance costs to get a good education and eventually a prestigious legal career. The main consequence of this being that, every so often, Myeong-soo has to pretend to be Hyeon-soo for the greater good. Really, just to help Hyeon-soo's career...More
Myeong-seok (played by Kam Woo-sung) and Myeong-gyoo (played by Kim Soo-ro) are a couple of brothers with the usual problems associated with middle age. Mostly it's a matter of money. As it happens, their father Joong-yeop (played by Shin Goo) has a decent amount of land, and is close to dying. But as a man whose hometown lies on the wrong side of the Korean border, Joong-yeop dreams of reunification, and meeting a daughter Joong-yeop has not seen since her infancy. So Myeong-seok and Myeong-gyoo do the natural thing in the situation, and concoct an elaborate scam to trick their father into thinking reunification is just around the corner...More
The opening scene of "A Boy Who Went to Heaven" takes place in a house located high in the sky. A couple of kids decide to go out to play while the adults in the room are making out, and sprout wings for this purpose. This inexplicable scene makes slightly more sense once "A Boy Who Went to Heaven" concludes having provided more context. Until then, though, the opener is a bit of misdirection as the action quickly settles upon Nae-mo (played by Kim Kwan-woo), a boy living in early eighties Busan with his mother...More
Han-i (played by Park Ji-bin) is the annoHan-ing younger brother to Han-byeol (played by Seo Dae-han). They live in typical sibling conflict, such that when Han-byeol expresses discomfort and apparent sickness, Han-i is dismissive and just decides to play video games rather than do anything useful. Unfortunately for the brothers and their parents, Han-byeol really is very sick. From there "Little Brother" quickly turns into a waiting game to see whether or not Han-byeol will die...More
2016/02/06 | Permalink
Sang-eun (played by Kang Hye-jung) is twenty years old, but under that normal pretty visage lies a mind that is a tad mentally challenged. It can be kind of hard to tell sometimes, because even though Sang-eun has elaborate fantasies about princes, these fantasies are so elaborate they end up becoming hip and post-modern. We all just want to meet our prince, after all. And in this case, the prince is rookie cop Jong-bom (played by Jung Kyung-ho) who has a bit of an attitude problem but that's OK, because so did Beast in Beauty and the Beast....More
2016/02/06 | Permalink
Dong-goo (played by Choi Woo-hyuk) is a dimwitted child who goes to school with a smile on his face and a beat in his step every day because he has the very important job of being the designated water carrier for his classroom. It is not a high prestige job. The other kids don't like carrying water because it's heavy but Dong-goo doesn't care because it's one of the few tasks at school he knows how to do. Joon-tae (played by Yun Chan) sits at the other half of Dong-gu's desk, and resents Dong-gu's oblivious joy for life...More
"Beauty Inside" is available now in the USA on DVD Blu-ray Digital HD, get a free Blu-ray copy on a first-come, first-served basis (#TheBeautyInside @wellgousa)
All relationships have issues, but Woo-jin's identity crisis is a new one - in fact, it's a new one every day...More
Jae-gyoo (played by Park Shin-yang) is a gangster sub-boss whose unit gets sucker-punched in the opening minutes of "Hi, Dharma" by a rival gang. Having only barely managed to escape that situation with their lives, and lacking reliable telephone access, Jae-gyoo's hang is forced to hide out at a Buddhist temple. And from there, the story of "Hi, Dharma" is simple character clash comedy. They're gangsters, the other guys are monks. How will they ever get along?...More
Jin-woo (played by Lee Joon-gi) is a high school student in Gwangju, circa 1980. Sin-ae (played by Lee Yo-won) is a local nurse who goes to his church. Min-woo (played by Kim Sang-kyung) is his older working brother. Heung-soo (played by Ahn Sung-ki) is her father, a former military officer. They all live fairly normal lives. But a meeting with history ruptures this destiny, as a military crackdown provokes a full-scale resistance movement lasting for a full week...More
"The visuals look fantastic, with a great splattering of genuine horror and bizarre fantasy".
‐ The Hollywood News
''The Piper" debuts on DVD February 2, 2016
A Non-stop Gruesome Thrill Ride with International Stars Ryu Seung-ryong and Lee Joon.
DVD giveaway open to US and Canada residents.
"The Piper", provides a gruesome retelling of the legendary Brothers Grimm classic of a village plagued by rats and a man who uses his magical flute to lure them out and rid the small town of the grotesque infestation forever...More
2016/01/23 | Permalink
Hongdae may easily be one of the hippest places in Seoul. It's where musicians and artists roam, create, and socialize. The young can find solace in the fast-paced atmosphere, delicious food, and hoards of people their own age. It's especially known for its indie artists: musicians, dancers, and other street performers. There is always a show in a club or on the streets. And don't forget the flea market, fun specialty shops, and pet cafes scattered everywhere. K-pop star and actor Jung Yong-hwa recommends it as a must-see place for anyone visiting Seoul...More
2016/01/09 | Permalink
2015/10/31 | Permalink
After the screening of "The Silenced" that I had the pleasure of watching at the 2015 Busan International Film Festival, KOFICE secured the Korea Joa 2015 members places in the Q&A session following the film with Director Lee Hae-yeong and leading actresses Park Bo-young and Park So-dam. It was held in an adjacent theater where a small number of press was invited to ask question in an open forum...More
The year is 1997. Pearson (played by Jang Geun-suk) and Alex (played by Shin Seung-hwan) are a couple of idiot teenagers talking tough at a Burger King in Itaewon. The conversation takes on horrific proportions when one of these two gets the bright idea to act all cool in a manner befitting Dostoyevsky, except without the self-awareness. Prosecutor Park (played by Jung Jin-young) is thus left with a dilemma- which of the two idiot teenagers actually committed the abhorrent, pointless crime?...More
Kang-soo (played by Ko Chang-seok) used to have a decent job. Then he became kind of a hopeless screw-up. The catalyst for this was Jong-cheol (played by Yoo Seung-ho)- or more specifically the awkward circumstances regarding the poor teenager's birth. In the present day Jong-cheol tries, mostly ineffectively, to try and prevent Kang-soo from spiraling too hopelessly into oblivion but there's not that much to be done. Kang-soo is a fairly lousy parent, and he has to be brought down pretty low to finally do the right thing...More
The story of "Off Road" centers around a bank heist gone wrong. The overriding joke is that it's pretty obvious from the beginning that there's no correct way to do a bank heist. Yes, the movies tend to give us a lot of flash about the daring ne-er do wells who try to succeed through this kind of work but really, bank heists are the last resort of the desperate, They're for people who feel like they have nothing to lose, and lack the impulse control to more carefully consider their actions...More
2015/10/02 | Permalink
On October 1st HanCinema attended the 20th Busan International Film Festival's (BIFF) red carpet, opening ceremony, and opening film. Stars and talents walked the red carpet, stayed to present, and then "Zubaan", an introspective Bollywood film directed by Mozez Singh, had its world premiere. Despite the intermittent rain and blustering wind typical of the Busan area, fans braved the weather in raincoats and Snoopy towels to catch glimpses of the stars.
Upon arrival, what strikes one most is the architecture of the Busan Cinema Center located in Centrum City...More
2015/09/19 | Permalink
I first saw "Haeundae", not from start to finish, but beginning midway through on cable television. There were, as to be exected, a lot of special effects about a giant tidal wave destroying everything. Given that the press materials have always pretty explicitly tried to sell the product as a disaster film, this should come as little surprise. Then I tried watching the movie from the very beginning and made a shocking discovery. "Haeundae" is, in fact, a romantic comedy...More
2015/09/19 | Permalink
Hangai (played by Bat-Ulzii) is a Mongolian man who's living out his dream- to plant trees in the steppe in an effort to fight off the oncoming spread of desert. Hangai's dream is...not really a very good dream. He's pretty much fighting against inevitability, and it's little surprise that in the opening segment Hangai's wife is able to come up with a better way of using her time than to support Hangai's apparently hopeless battle against nature. From there, Hangai lounges and waits...More
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2015/06/20 | Permalink
Actors vary a lot in their talent, skills, types of performances, popularity and even function in the industry their career develops in. There are many who might not be familiar or very familiar to foreign fans and especially drama fans, but whose work has been significant. They have helped the film and drama industries maintain a certain quality through their individual artistic efforts and choices. Park Hee-soon is such an actor...More
2015/05/16 | Permalink
In September 2013 Kim Jho Kwang-soo married his long-term partner, also a man. And so, they had a gay wedding. Normally I'd just call it a wedding but "My Fair Wedding" makes an extended point, not so much of the actual romantic relationship at the center of all this as it does the political implications. And also the wedding plan. The nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana are cited as a specific inspiration. This event happened several years before I was born so it was kind of difficult to relate...More
2015/04/18 | Permalink
Acquiring and maintaining stardom contain different necessities than acquiring and maintaining a stable career and prestige as an artist. Stardom often depends on starring in successful works and being very prolific. Audiences get easily impressed by new things and move on quickly unless thoroughly engaged and hooked. This is especially true for the Korean drama industry. Gong Yoo is an odd case of someone whose acquired fame has kept him relative despite the sparsity of his works. He is also someone who is now branching out...More
2014/12/31 | Permalink
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Black comedy is a very tricky genre. Not only does it have to be funny and witty, but it has to be appropriately dark without becoming melodramatic. Aside from that important balance, creating sympathy for its usually eccentric characters is a very difficult task to get right. Korean cinema has hits and misses in the genre and "Head" has some issues which keep it from being one of the great successes in it, but it is still a delightfully enjoyable film...More
2014/07/19 | Permalink
Based on the popular webcomic by Yoon Tae-ho, Kang Woo-seok's "Moss" is an epic rural thriller dedicated to mystery, corruption and cover-ups. This character-driven gem came out back in 2010 where over 3.3M filmgoers supported Kang's eerie adaptation. It's an compelling piece that's well-paced, rich, and clutches onto its secrets all the way to the film's final frame...More
2014/07/19 | Permalink
Kang Woo-seok's 2010 film "Moss" is a captivating thriller about a son's quest to uncover the truth behind his estranged father's death. The film takes place in a remote rural village; a quiet and rustic site led by a sinister chief/feudal lord and his three sinful cohorts. The film is pleasing character-driven, eerily atmospheric, and well-paced (this last point being particularly important in order to usher viewers willingly through its epic 163 minutes of mystery). Despite the cute-sounding Korean title ("Iggi"), Kang's film is menacing and intense, and after this rural rush you'll be wanting to add this quality Korean adaptation to the likes of "Snowpiercer" and "Old Boy". Enjoy! [Spoilers]...More
2014/05/02 | Permalink
Kim Hyeok (played by Joo Jin-mo) is a North Korean defectee who is now a police detective working in South Korea but also does arms deals on the side. Yeong-choon (played by Song Seung-heon) is just an arms dealer, though he's metaphorically Kim Hyeok's brother. Kim Hyeok's actual brother is Kim Cheol, who doesn't want anything to do with criminal enterprises at all. Also he's the one who starts the movie out in North Korea. Well I guess depends on how you define flashbacks.
"A Better Tomorrow" is a remake of a Hong Kong action film, and I can't help but wonder if director Song Hae-seong was working under the assumption that the viewer already basically knows who all the characters are...More
2014/04/28 | Permalink
Jeon Woo-chi (played by Gang Dong-won) is a taoist wizard who's a bit of a rascal. He uses his magical powers mostly just so mess around with people in the Joseon era, until he gets stuck with the task of recovering one half of some sort of epic pipe. He battles goblins for awhile in the Joseon era, until finally the man is thrust into the modern day, where he proceeds to do tricky wacky magical maneuvers in a modern backdrop...More
2014/04/25 | Permalink
Hard-headed loser Bong-gu (played by Kim Seung-woo) is technically the main character of "Break Out", in that he has the most screentime, but none of the other characters are aware of this. Bum-soo (played by Kang Sung-jin) holds very strong opinions and won't shut up about them. Chul-gon (played by Cha Seung-won) is a gangster with a score to settle- specifically that he hasn't gotten paid yet. And Yeong-gab (played by Park Young-kyu) pontificates the same campaign speech repeatedly with no regard to context.
What unites all these characters is their basic feeling of helplessness against a giant crazy system that doesn't care about them...More
2014/04/24 | Permalink
For a full disclaimer, "Robot Taekwon V" is a seventies-era cartoon about a giant robot. I could go on about the historical relevance, about what a big deal it was that Korean children had their own national robot cartoon instead of having to borrow from Japan, abut the massive sentimental value attached to all this. But when it gets right down to it, this is typical goofy seventies action cartoon stuff. Perhaps somewhat better written than average, although that's not much of a compliment
Still, I'm sure there are people reading this review right now who are in to that kind of weird stuff...More
2014/04/22 | Permalink
It's a popular cliche to assume that children are pure and innocent. It can be a very annoying cliche for anyone that has had any actual experience with children. They are loud, noisy, and make giant messes. Gil-son (voiced by Kim Seo-young) is the five year old boy who makes up the center of "Oseam", and he embodies all of these characteristics. Loving though he may be toward his blind, older sister, the little guy's a handful. He often seems to be a lot more trouble than he's worth.
And yet, he's still pure and innocent. It's not a matter of his being a quasi divine figure as it is he's too young to process anything but the most simple desires...More
2014/04/21 | Permalink
Moo-myeong (played by Cho Seung-woo) is a vagabond who's quite good with his rather awkwardly proportioned fish head cutting sword. His excellent fighting skills make Moo-myeong a valuable hire in the assassin's trade, but it's an offhand job with Myeong-seong (played by Soo Ae) that ends up permanently changing his life. Moo-myeong suddenly decides that he's good enough for bigger or better things. In reality, of course, he just wants to get closer to Myeong-seong, who mostly reciprocates his affections though she's just married the king.
2014/04/19 | Permalink
Yobi (voiced by Son Ye-jin) is a hundred year old fox spirit. She's spent most of her life living with a band of aliens who crash-landed into Korea. A sudden crisis forces her to interact with the children attending camp near the forest, and the outlook on her life seems positive. That is, until Yubi's goal in life is exposed- she must take a human's soul in order to become a human herself. Several other supernatural characters try to bully Yubi into submission on this point, while she takes stock of the one immediate goal that actually matters to her...More
2014/04/18 | Permalink
This movie depicts the dark side of Buddhism. I don't mean anything so cliched as monks driven mad by spiritual rights, jumping headfirst into the most grotesque hedony imaginable. "A Little Monk" goes into much more ambiguous territory, by giving us characters who don't actually seem to like Buddhism all that much, and yet they appear to have been forced into the faith by circumstance and don't really have any way of getting out...More
2014/04/11 | Permalink
Yoo-jeong (played by Lee Na-young) chronically attempts to commit suicide mostly out of spite. While suicidal people generally act in such a way because they believe the world would be better off without them, Yoo-jeong holds no such illusions. Her self-inflicted wounds are not a cry for help, but a deliberate sensation reminding the woman that there is no hope, love, or genuine empathy in her life. There is only pain, and Yoo-jeong has been brought up in such a way that viciousness is about the only form of communication she can register as being valid.
2013/11/16 | Permalink
I noticed during the ending credits that, before getting to the traditional list of all cast members and character names, this film goes out of its way to describe its main character simply as Mother (played by Han Hye-sook). The woman has a name, of course, and it's mentioned in the subsequent actual credits sequence- but it's appropriate that she is initially described in this limited way, since in the context of the film, that's all she really is. Just a mother.
Most of this movie can be easily described as just being about the daily everyday adventures of a mother and her son as they go about their everyday lives...More
Korean movie of the week "A Werewolf Boy" (2012) + DVD Giveaway [US Only]
Directed by Jo Sung-hee
With Song Joong-ki, Park Bo-young, Yoo Yeon-seok, Jang Young-nam, Kim Hyang-gi, Lee Young-ran,...
Summoned by an unexpected phone call, an elderly woman visits a cottage the way she used to when she was a young girl. She remembers a boy she knew half a century before. Moving to a peaceful village when she was a girl she discovered a "wolf boy", hiding his large, contorted body in the darkness. The girl, now a woman, has never been able to purge the images of his wild eyes and animal-like behavior from her mind. She recalls teaching the boy how to wait patiently before a meal, how to wear clothes, how to speak, how to write and other human behaviors so that he could one day live like a normal man...More
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