Friday, April 28, 2006

Foul King, The

Foul King, The (2000; dir. Kim Jee-woon) 3
Another successfully off-beat comedy, this movie is of simpler ambition than Quiet Family (and more dependent on sight-gags?); with its focus on Song Kang-ho’s banker-by-day/ pro-wrestler-by-night character, there is less room for the supporting actors to work with. I felt that this film took a while to get warmed up, but the hilarious, and acrobatically impressive, pro-wrestling choreography is worth the wait.
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Sopyonje

Sopyonje (1993; dir. Im Kwan-taek) 4
A beautiful epic about a traveling pansori troupe in the waning days of the art form. Well made, well acted, and really, really depressing.
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Shiri

(1999; Kang Je-gyu) 1
Despite this film’s legendary box-office performance, this is a predictable action film about nuclear terrorists that could be replaced by any Steven Segal flick.

Jail Breakers

(2002; dir. Kim Sang-jin) 2
Not nearly as consistent a comedy as Attack the Gas Station. Although it contains a similar hostage scenario, this film really slowed down towards the end.

JSA

JSA (2000; dir. Park Chan-wook) 3
I wasn’t as blown away by this one as Jeeyun was. A sort of political thriller about soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Aside from the (controversial?) contemporary political commentary, I’m not sure that there’s that much there. (And although I’ve never been there, I’m skeptical as to how much of that modern-day border is really comprised of no-man’s-land wheat fields…)
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Coast Guard, The (a.k.a. Place Where Crossing Lines Is Forbidden, A)

Coast Guard, The (a.k.a. Place Where Crossing Lines Is Forbidden, A) (2002; dir. Kim Ki-duk) 3
The English title of the film is extremely misleading (and not very inviting). This is a fairly complex story of military personnel and civilians living in bad situations, with a lot of tension and an eventual escalation into a horror sequence. Still not sure if this was a great movie or not, but its message - whatever it is - is definitely negative.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Girls’ Night Out

Girls’ Night Out (1998; dir. Im Sang-soo) 3
This edgy “adult drama” film has a lot of parallels to America’s Sex in the City series, with an additional emphasis on bedroom scenes (and some clever photography necessary to maintain mainstream circulation). Three single women roommates share their adventures in dating, relationships … and a lot of sex.

Nowhere to Hide

Nowhere to Hide (1999; dir. Lee Myung-se) 4
This movie is like a directors' and cinematographers' encyclopedia of technical devices: almost every scene is done in a different style, employed "all-out" in a continuous display of virtuosic film-making (almost physically exhausting to watch). I enjoyed the actors (Park Joong-hoon and Ahn Sung-ki, both in totally different modes from Two Cops) and cop-noir plot as well, but that's not really what this film is about.

Silmido

Silmido (2003; dir. Kang Woo-suk) 3
A based-on-a-true-story epic about a group of suicide South Korean commandos (featuring an all-star cast) at the height of the cold war, but I didn't feel it lived up to the genre. The first half comprises of fairly literal borrowings from The Dirty Dozen; the second half gets better, though I thought the revisionist-patriotic commentary was a bit clumsy and started to bog things down.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (a.k.a. Oh! Soo-jung)

(2000; dir. Hong Sang soo) 2
Same as The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well.

A scene from Oh! Soo-jung

Monday, April 17, 2006

TV Soap Must Watch List


Our TV soap must watch list:
1. My Name is Kim Sam Soon (featuring
Kim Seon-A of Jambok-geunmu)
2. Oh! Pil Seung, Bong Soon Young (this is a funny title, a spoof on a famous art house film
Oh! Soo-Jung, aka, The Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors.)
3.
Sassy Girl, Choon Hyang
4. I am sorry. I love you (image above)
5
. Immortal, Lee Soon Shin
6. Resurrection