As a first-time feature film director, LEE received critical acclaim and numerous festival invites and awards with his short film “For the Peace of All Mankind” (1999). A witty and heartwarming portrayal of humanism during a life-threatening crisis, the film tells the story of a soldier set against a little girl on the enemy’s side during a war. In addition, his presentation of a street vendor who sells super glue in the short film “Super Glue” (2001) was noted for its seamless direction and comic touches
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.01.29 ~ 2016.01.31 2016/02/01,
"The Revenant" falls hard as "Kung Fu Panda 3" hits...
DreamWorks Animation's third installment of the "Kung Fu Panda" series of films came to Korean screens last Thursday and dominated proceedings over the weekend. "Kung Fu Panda 3" had a massive 1,364 screens from which to pool and from them captured 63% of the box office pie (1.3 million admissions). The film was made for around $145 million, and worldwide the film has already grossed $116.7 million,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Himalayas" 2016/01/23, "The Himalayas" is, in fact, not really a story about mountaineering and its perils. To be sure, there is quite a bit of mountaineering and very deathly perils, but that is not the focus of Director Lee Seok-hoon's ("Pirates") alpine piece that is based on a true tale. Rather than an exploration of the cold wonders of the Himalayas, it is an exploration of friendship that survives extreme physical and emotional duress and transcends death. The promotional poster of Hwang Jung-min's smiling face embodies the heart of the film: friendship,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.01.15 ~ 2016.01.17 2016/01/18,
"Star Wars" disappears, "The Himalayas" begins its descent, and "The Revenant" rises...
The Oscar-nominated "The Revenant" (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) entered at the top of the Korean box office this past weekend. This gritty and intense thriller arrived last Thursday and topped the weekend chart with 694 thousand admissions (35.2%) from across 966 screens. Critics and fans alike have praised director Alejandro G. Iñárritu's efforts, and the Academy recently confirmed its excellence by nominating it in twelve categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.01.08 ~ 2016.01.10 2016/01/11,
"The Good Dinosaur" comes out on top, "The Himalayas" still strong, and "The Force" has run its course...
Disney and Pixar's latest, "The Good Dinosaur", doesn't quite live up to the high standard these studios have set in the past, but that didn't stop this prehistoric adventure from rising to the top of the pile in South Korea over the weekend. For the past few weeks, "The Himalayas" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" have been battling it out at the top (with the former firmly holding the high ground), but the second weekend of the year saw a slight slowdown in terms of the number of admissions sold as "The Good Dinosaur" and a re-release of "Inside Men" took the honours on offer,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2015.12.25 ~ 2015.12.27 2015/12/28, "The Himalayas" proves insurmountable for "Star Wars"...
J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" continued its record-breaking run worldwide over Christmas; the film, the seventh in "Star Wars" series, has now grossed an incredible $1.1 billion since its release mid-December (the fastest to do so), but only $18.6 million of that has come from South Korean audiences,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2015.12.18 ~ 2015.12.20 2015/12/21,
"The Force Awakens" in Korea to a lukewarm reception as "The Himalayas" comes out on top...
J. J. Abrams' "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has been shattering box office records as millions flocked to catch the latest in this billion-dollar franchise. Already the film has made over half-a-billion dollars worldwide ($517 million), but how strong was the force in South Korea? Surprisingly, it was not Abrams saber-spangled spectacle that captured the hearts and minds of Koreans this past weekend; instead, it was Lee Seok-hoon's down-to-earth drama "The Himalayas" with Hwang Jung-min,...More
[HanCinema's Feature] Korea's Top Five Favorite Films of 2014 2014/12/20,
2015 is nigh upon us, a fresh year with its own host of hits waiting to entertain and be enjoyed. There is still a little time before 2014 passes us by, and before it does I wanted to glance back and take stock of this year's most successful spectacles and see what rose to top in terms of ticket tallies.
Last year Korean cinephiles were treated to an array of awesome attractions ("The Face Reader", "Snowpiercer", "The Attorney", "Miracle in Cell No.7"), but still Bong Joon-ho's 2003 hit "The Host" remained the nation's cash king with over 13M admissions. It would take something supremely special (historic) to rally such record-breaking support and slay this iconic stub-guzzler,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.09.26 ~ 2014.09.28 2014/09/29, "The Maze Runner" remains unchallenged at the top…
Wes Ball's science fiction film "The Maze Runner" managed to remain Korea's top showing over the last week of September. Ball's adaptation has been a huge success, and has already grossed over $148m worldwide. The film's second weekend in Korea was less than stellar, but the 572K admissions (43%) it claimed was enough to secure its place at the top of pile,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.09.12 ~ 2014.09.14 2014/09/15,
"Tazza 2" keeps its roll going…
"Tazza: The Hidden Card" had a fantastic week and managed to extend its lead at the top of pile. Kang Hyeong-cheol's comedy drama attracted over 540K filmgoers (26.7%) over the weekend to move its total tally now to 3.1M ($24.6M), which makes it the ninth highest-grossing Korean film of 2014 having just overtaken Director Chang's "The Target". Kang's closest competition came in the form of the American musical drama "Begin Again" and its 351K (17.1%), but otherwise the top ten remained largely unchanged except for Frank Miller's neo-noir "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" creeping in at ten,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Pirates" 2014/09/08,
The main characters in "Pirates" don't follow the rules. This is the very first thing we learn about them. We're introduced to Sa-jeong (played by Kim Nam-gil) as a mess ensues from his refusing to obey orders without question. Yeo-wol (played by Son Ye-jin) is a little better about falling into line, but even she has limits. From the very beginning our leads are well-established and sympathetic as characters, even as they're obviously cutthroats who make a living through violent thievery,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.08.29 ~ 2014.08.31 2014/09/01, Lee's "Pirates" still rule the roost while "The Admiral" spies 17M…
The last few weeks have seen Korea's box office figures soar thanks to two seafaring delights: Kim Han-min's epic "Admiral" and Lee Seok-hoon's "Pirates". The last weekend of August, however, saw a slight return to normalcy as ticket sales sunk in the wake of Kim and Lee's period powerhouses coming down from their profitable reigns at the top.
Last weekend Lee's "Pirates" stole first from "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" with 951K, with Kim's naval strategist following close behind it with 802K. "Pirates" second term at the top, however, yielded just 620K (25.5%) while "The Admiral" was bumped down to third with 333K (13.7%). Together these two action attractions have amassed nearly 24M admissions and are still going around scooping up survivors as the new season is ushered in,...More
[HanCinema's Take] The "Admiral" and his Impossible Fleet 2014/08/23,
I'm always intrigued when patterns emerge in space-time; plausible improbabilities that speak to universal truths, or magically mirror the collective's consciousness. These uncanny alignments aren't always meaningful, or random, but there's a persistent allure to be found in such synchronicity; as if, when aligned, a precious pinhole appears, a vague vantage point awaiting some some golden thread to pierce and grab the message in bottle before it's too late.
Last week a new Korea box office champion was crowned as Kim Han-min's "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" (2014) cruised past Bong Joon-ho's hybrid hit "The Host" (2006), becoming the peninsula's highest grossing film of all time,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.08.08 ~ 2014.08.10 2014/08/12, Kim's "Admiral" surpasses 10M in record time…Kim Han-min's cinematic celebration of the legendary Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin continued its record-breaking form as it powered past the 10 million admissions mark with ease. Over this past weekend Kim's period epic claimed over 2.5M stubs (58.8%) over 1,335 screens to become the fastest Korean film to reach that milestone, and now stands as the tenth highest grossing Korean film of all time. The film depicts Yi Sun-sin's famous victory at the Battle of Myeongnyang where, against all odds, he defeated the Japanese navy on the Myeongnyang Strait by forcing the Japanese fleet into the narrow pass and made strategic use of the straights strong and shifting currents. "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" now has a total tally of 10.7M admissions ($81.1M); an incredible achievement considering the film was only released on the 30th of last month,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.08.01 ~ 2014.08.03 2014/08/04, Records tumble in the wake of Kim Han-min's awesome "Admiral"…Kim Han-min's period epic "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" soared into the record books over the weekend to become the first film to break a million admissions in a single day. Over the weekend Kim's big-budget blockbuster claimed 3.3M admissions (or 65.7% of ticket sales) over 1,586 screens to force the recently released "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant" down to third. The only other films to sell more than 45K tickets were "How to Train Your Dragon 2" and "Guardians of the Galaxy", the rest simply made up the numbers as these four favourites devoured over 97% of the box office pie,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2014/08/02, K-Films Coming Soon:★★★★★"Pirates": A whale swallows the 'great seal' of the newly established Cho-sun en route from China, opening up a chance for bandits and pirates to try and claim it. (08/06)
★★★ "Resolve": A hopeless couple carrying their own emotional and social baggage struggle to make it work. (08/06)
★★★"T-pang Rescue": The T-pang Team has to defend the villagers against the evil alien Koraon and his tribe. (08/07)
★★★★"The Cardinal": A documentary that follows Kim Su-hwan and his personal journey of discover. (08/07)
★★★★"Super Virgin": A thirty-something man living in Incheon struggles to live a fulfilling life, but after meeting a bioengineer and signing up for a medical experiment his life gets given a challenging new impetus. (08/07),...More
[HanCinema Feature] Historical Hysteria: Korean period films coming in 2014 2014/01/11, Joseon pirates, legends, swordsmen, angels and more coming our way in 2014...
Cinematic journeys back to Joseon and beyond have rewarded the Korean film industry with a string of profitable historical yarns, a trend that has got producers drooling with the prospect of tapping deeper into this regenerative cash cow. Recently, it's been Han Jae-rim's "The Face Reader" (9.1M admissions) that has had locals flustered and, in 2005, it was Lee Joon-ik's "The King and the Clown" that became the first Joseon-era flick to pass the 10 million admissions mark. It's big business with a cultural twist that locals enjoy supporting, international audiences love lapping up, and a trend that 2014 is keen to take advance of as a host of new retrospectives are getting raring to go,...More
Four films and two shorts from South Korea showcased at Terracotta festival 2012/04/14, Source,
The Terracotta Far East Film Festival, London's premier festival celebrating Asian film, returns to the Prince Charles Cinema and will run from 12th-15th April 2012. Terracotta Far East Film Festival is an annual event which aim is to widen the audience for Far Eastern film in the UK and to further promote this genre to existing film fans. For this year's 4th edition, the festival aimed to emphasize the leading position and diversity of Korean cinema and will feature a panel of 4 films from different genre including blockbuster "My Way, Kim Ki-duk's "ARIRANG - Movie" and a Double Bill of Korean hit comedies,...More
Popular Korean Films Reflecting Social Issues 2012/02/08, Source,
Korean movies that tackle social issues head on have recently become the center of attention in the country. They not only portray reality, but also provoke discussions.
Arirang News correspondent Park Ji-won joins us in the studio, and analyzes two films that are now screening here in Korea, which are now raising questions about Korea's political and legal conditions. Hello, Ji-won.
[Reporter : jiwon] Hello, Sean. Hello, Jihae. Today, I'd like to talk about two very popular Korean films, "Dancing Queen", and "Unbowed".,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] Korean Weekend Box Office 2012.01.27 ~ 2012.01.29 2012/01/30, HanCinema's Korean Box Office Review(2011.01.27 ~ 2012.01.29)
After just week at the top Lee Seok-hoon's "Dancing Queen" has given way to Chung Ji-young's interesting new film "Unbowed". This week's number one has created some controversy in the news as it is based on a true story of math professor who was accused of shooting a judge with a crossbow in 2007. It's a fifty-fifty split this week with both local Korean films and international releases find a place in the top ten. However the top three are local hits that have grabbed the lion's share of public interest,...More
[HanCinema Korea's Diary] "Dancing Queen": Feel-Good Fun with Plenty to Say. 2012/01/28,
It's sometimes a complicated effort to find Korean films that are screening with English subtitles in Seoul. Many big cinema houses sporadically screen the latest Korean films and hearing about them is almost impossible without being in the loop as it were. So when I saw that Lee Seok-hoon's "Dancing Queen" was screening at Yongsan in Seoul, I resigned myself to the fact that, although it didn't look like a film I would willing choice to watch, I would see it because it is what was available. This reluctance was compounded by the film's 124-minute screen time but, despite this, I was happily surprised to walk out of the theatre with a smile on my face and a spring in my step,...More
UDINE, Italy ㅡ With 13 recent films mostly unreeled in their international and European premiere, Korean cinema is once again under media spotlight at the Far East Film Festival (FEFF) taking place in Udine, a North East Italian city.
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