Monday, January 29, 2007

Bloody Tie

Bloody Tie (2006; Choi Ho) 2
A sharp looking and smartly edited film about the gray-area between cops and drug dealers in late-‘90s Pusan. Unfortunately, the hip style couldn’t overcome the predictable plot, tired characters, and uneven acting; the ending was especially laborious as it plodded through the requisite car explosions, multiple gun-at-forehead standoffs, etc.

Dirty Carnival

Dirty Carnival (2006; dir. Yu Ha) 3
A gangster epic with a twist: a film director attempts to document an old school buddy who is rising through the ranks of a local gang, resulting in simultaneous mockery and fulfillment of the familiar gangster film genre, on multiple levels. Jo In-seong gave a convincing performance as the film’s main character in this often clever, but far too long, film.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Puzzle

Puzzle (2006; dir. Kim Tae-Kyeong) 2
An interesting combination of Usual Suspects and Reservoir Dogs (and that description is to be taken quite literally), this film came across as a well-executed study by an aspiring film director and/or the result of a conservative producer who wants to know exactly what they’ll be getting. Nothing too exciting here (unless you’re into the re-staging of scenes from the two films mentioned above), but I would look forward to future works by this director.

Radio Star

Radio Star (2006; dir. Lee Jun-ik) 3
Ahn Sung-ki and Park Joong-hoon reunite in this comedy about a washed-up rock star and his life-long manager moving to a small town; there are a number of sparks of life in a few of the scenes. This isn’t a great comedy—a few hits, a few misses—but I’ll give this film a “3” for not trying to be anything other than the minimal effort it is (no expectations, no disappointments…).