Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cruel Winter Blues

Cruel Winter Blues (2005; dir. Lee Jeong-beom) 3
Sometimes too much of everything is a bad thing, as exemplified by this gangster-goes-soft-in-the-stix story that left a lot of promising characters abandoned. With impressive performances, interesting characters, and occasionally brilliant directing, this could have been a really great film—but somehow the pieces didn’t add up.

Over the Border

Over the Border (2006; An Pan-seok) 2
Solid comic performances by the leads, but I got the feeling the ending was decided on at the last minute. The triangle-interest of the Southern wife was underdeveloped, and not very convincing as plot motivation; had trouble staying awake through the second half of the film. A North Korean couple tries to rebuild their lives in South Korea.

Old Garden

Old Garden (2007; dir. Im Sang-soo) 2
Im Sang-soo goes through the motions in this history-inspired tear-jerker. Flashback transitions that tried too hard to be clever, not enough editing, and the (unfortunately) requisite over-the-top ending with evening snowfall.
Gwangju massacre nostalgia, if there can be such a thing.