MKC's Most Anticipated Korean Films of 2016 MKC's Top 10 Korean Films of 2015 Busan 2015 Review: ALONE Winds Its Mystery Through the Backstreets of Seoul Busan 2015 Review: VETERAN MKC's Top 10 Korean Films of 2014

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

27 Most Anticipated Korean Films of 2016



By Pierce Conran

More so than usual, it took a long time to compile this year's 'most anticipated Korean films' list for the simple reason that there's so much on the horizon. Some of Korea's master directors return, following their US debuts, and there are many tantalizing combinations of talent and concept waiting in the wings.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Korean Directors Take on STAR WARS!


By Kyu Hyun Kim

In the midst of global Star Wars mania, MKC contributor Kyu Hyun Kim imagines what a Star Wars Episode VIII might look like if the reins and total creative freedom were given to some of the biggest names in Korean cinema.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top 10 Korean Films of 2015


By Pierce Conran

Sales have been impressive as box office admissions reached a new peak and local films maintained a +50% market share, but looking at the quality of what was on offer, it must be said that 2015 was not the best year for Korean cinema. Big budgeted, maudlin affairs dominated the charts, though there were a few bright spots (such as Veteran), and the year's best commercial films were mostly not rewarded with healthy box office returns (The Exclusive: Beat the Devil's Tattoo comes to mind).

Friday, October 9, 2015

Busan 2015 Review: COIN LOCKER GIRL Offers New Perspectives on Standard Thrills


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

Against a parking lot bursting with saturated colors, a person lies on the ground, at the mercy of another standing above them who wields a sashimi knife still dripping red from its last kill. Dark, bloody and stylish, this could be the beginning of just about any Korean noir. But Coin Locker Girl is trying something new, as these two characters are played by none other than Kim Hye-su, one of Korea's most glamorous leading ladies, and Kim Go-eun, its latest fresh-faced starlet.

Busan 2015 Review: RECORDING Chronicles Charming Cast In Forgettable Story


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

It’s the small moments that work in Recording, a story that is low on ambition but infused with a winning charm even as it drags in the scripting department, particularly in the back half. Sweet and unaffected, Park Min-kook’s debut follows a woman in her early 20s who chronicles her losing battle to stomach cancer with an omnipresent home camera. Even with the end drawing near, she continues to wear a bright smile and tries to spend some of her last carefree moments with her partner and friends.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Busan 2015 Review: A COPY OF MY MIND Sells Itself On Romance And Intrigue


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

Acclaimed Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar returns with his fifth feature, A Copy of My Mind, a tale of love, passion and how to get ahead in the back alleys of sprawling Jakarta. Made with the help of CJ Entertainment, as the Korean major continues to industriously wean its way into developing Southeast Asian film markets, this romantic thriller, which teeters back and forth between the worlds of DVD piracy and local politics, is suffused with ample wry commentary.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Busan 2015 Review: OFFICE Works Up an Intriguing Salaryman Chiller


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

Life is hard for the average Korean salaryman, and sometimes that engenders a need to blow off a little steam. For many that involves drinking to excess, but for others it can spill over into the homestead. New Korean horror-thriller Office takes this to a disturbing extreme as a diligent and seemingly placid cubicle worker returns home from work and quietly eats dinner, before taking a hammer to his wife, mother and handicapped son. Intercut with statics shots of the homogeneous residential blocks surrounding the apartment, the instrument comes down again and again, raining crimson over the blank white walls.

Busan 2015 Review: ALONE Winds Its Mystery Through the Backstreets of Seoul


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

Four years after his experimental 3D shaman mystery Fish, Park Hong-min returns to BIFF with another singular work that offers one of the most compelling examinations of gentrification in Seoul. Alone follows a single character as he hops from one terrible dream to the next, unable to wake up and incapable of escaping nestled alleys of his small, dying neighborhood.

Busan 2015 Review: THE PIPER, A Satisfyingly Grimm Fairy Tale


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

Step away from the city and it isn't long before you fall in with bad company or into a mystery in Korean cinema, with remote islands and mountains being among the favored haunts of the country's more macabre filmmakers. Taking its cue from a Brothers Grimm fairly tale (itself a take on an old German legend), Kim Gwang-tae's debut The Piper hums a familiar tune, yet this fable of mistrust and deceit remains engrossing and entertaining thanks to a few wicked twists.

Busan 2015 Review: STEEL FLOWER Offers Wilted View of Korean Youth


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

A year after Wild Flowers, Park Suk-young returns to the Busan International Film Festival with Steel Flower. Gritty, intimate and centering around a young girl lost in a harsh urban world, Park's latest kicks off on the same foot as his debut, with a raw immediacy and a tangle of youthful anxiety.

Busan 2015 Review: VETERAN, Who's Gonna Protect Gotham When Bruce Wayne Grew Up to Be an Evil Super-Rich Punk?


Part of MKC's coverage of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

By Kyu Hyun Kim, Associate Professor at UC Davis and koreanfilm.org contributor.

Seo Do-chul (Hwang Jeong-min), a veteran of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, busts a ring of foreign car smugglers with his teammates, the muscle-bound Detective Wang (Oh Dae-hwan), ass-kicking Miss Bong (Jang Yoon-joo) and the cute rookie Detective Yoon (Kim Si-hoo), under the leadership of the perennially frustrated but bizarrely eloquent Chief Oh (Oh Dal-soo).  Do-chul, a pit bull of a cop, in the process of investigating the smugglers, befriends a trucker, Mr. Bae (Jeong Woong-in). Later, he is invited to a private party as a "consultant" to a hit TV series and witnesses the sponsor corporation's young heir Jo Tae-oh (teen heartthrob Yoo Ah-in) behaving cruelly to one of the partygoers. When Mr. Bae is found to be unconscious and critically wounded from an alleged suicide attempt, after directly confronting Tae-oh's corporation about his unfair firing, the cop smells a rat and starts an investigation, despite pressure from the higher-ups to look the other way. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Korean Films: Coming Late at the Party (2015 Week 34)

Untouchable Lawmen
(치외법권)


By Fabien Schneider

In order to capture the boss of a powerful criminal organization who has connections with the authorities, the special investigation section has called two agents with exceptional records. While Jung-in made his arms as a criminal profiler at the FBI, Yu-min graduated from one of the best academies but is now seen as a player with women. Of course, both of them will have to go past their differences to fulfil their mission.