Review: GANGNAM BLUES, a Gorgeously Overwrought Gangster Classic in the Making MKC's Top 10 Korean Films of 2014 News: Gong Yoo Joins Yeon Sang-ho's Live Action Zombie Thriller BUSAN-BOUND 23 Most Anticipated Korean Films of 2015 Review: THE ROYAL TAILOR Spins a Colorful Period Yarn

Friday, May 29, 2015

Coming Attractions: Keep Your Friends Close But Keep Your INTIMATE ENEMIES Closer


By Rex Baylon

It's been awhile since we've heard from Im Sang-Soo. Having made big waves in the early aughts with critically acclaimed films like A Good Lawyer's Wife (2003) and The President's Last Bang (2005), it's been three years since one of his films was released, and sadly a lot of his latter work leaves much to be desired. Intimate Enemies, with a projected release date of June 25th, seems to be yet another meditation on the ways money and power corrupt the human animal. Though instead of the dour oppressive atmosphere that was present in works like The Housemaid (2010) and The Taste of Money (2012), Im has Ryoo Seung-Bum to inject his picture with Ryoo's trademark rakish charm. I love the conman subgenre and from the trailer it looks as if Intimate Enemies has the requisite colorful characters, sex appeal, and elaborate grifts that are the hallmarks of the genre.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cannes 2015 Review: OFFICE Works Up an Intriguing Salaryman Chiller


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.

Coming Attractions: THE SILENCED Is Not Keeping Quiet Anymore


By Rex Baylon

What the hell is it about boarding schools that make it such prime real estate for horror films? I doubt Lee Hae-young is keen on trying to answer that question, but his new picture The Silence, reaching theaters this June, seems to be in no short supply of the requisite scares that this unique sub-genre is well-known for. Starring Park Bo-young, of A Werewolf Boy (2012) fame, as a young girl named Joo-ran who is transferred to an all girls boarding school that is suffering an epidemic of vanishing students. Why are they vanishing? Are they being kidnapped by some demonic force? Or just the typical human villains? I guess you'll have to wait a few more weeks to find out.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cannes 2015 Review: MADONNA - A Riveting Tale of Sorrow and Redemption


By Pierce Conran

Following her accomplished sophomore film, the absorbing high school revenge tale Pluto (2012), Shin Su-won returns in glorious fashion with the searing Madonna. Meticulous, layered and yet seemingly effortless, this rewarding tale of mingled sorrow and redemption should go a long way towards establishing its director as a major talent on the global scene.

New Korean Films: Disobeying Civil Servants (2015 Week 19)

The Chronicles of Evil
(악의 연대기)


By Fabien Schneider

Detective Choi has been decorated with a president’s mention, one of the most prestigious awards that a police officer could have. But on the way back from a celebratory party with his coworkers, he gets physical with a taxi driver and eventually kills him by accident. Thinking of his newly-found prestige, he decides to hide the body and cover the crime. But on the next day, the very same body is found hanging from a crane in front of Choi’s police station. He now has to investigate his own crime, while trying to know who is trying to make him fall.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cannes 2015 Review: THE SHAMELESS Delivers Hardboiled Melodrama with Top Drawer Performances


By Pierce Conran

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist"
Pablo Picasso

Today's Korea, whether looking at its entertainment, fashion or culinary scenes, is a society awash with fusion. Nowhere is this more true than in its cinema, as since the late 90s Korean filmmakers have never shied away from playing with genre. Many artists and artisans would do well to take note of the above quote by Picasso (though I imagine he wasn't the first to say it) before dishing out cookie crust shrimp and potato pizzas or dumping a motley crew of genre fare into a blender and calling it a script. However, while these hybrid experiments have frequently backfired, a surprising amount have been successful, including modern classics like Bong Joon-ho's The Host (2006) and Jang Joon-hwan's Save the Green Planet (2003).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: TAEGUKGI: THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR is a Heartbreaking Tale from the Korean War


By Chris Horn

You would be hard-pressed to find a more compelling and difficult to portray subject than war. Having successfully proven himself with his 1999 action film Shiri, director Kang Je-gyu once more took a look at the breakout of violence between North and South Korea in Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War. While comparisons to Saving Private Ryan (1998) are inevitable, Taegukgi cuts to the heart of a different kind of war with less clearly defined lines and much more personal stakes for its characters.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Korean Films: The Taste of Love and The Love of Taste (2015 Week 18)

Love Clinic
(연애의 맛)


By Fabien Schneider

Two doctors are opening their cabinet on the same floor. One of them is Kil Shin-seol, an urologist who knows everything about men’s sexuality, while the other is Wang Sung-ki, an obstetrician who knows more about female sexual attributes than their minds. But both of them have barely even had relationships, thanks to their own behaviors and fears. As they become fond of each other, they also start to treat each other as their own patients.

Monday, May 11, 2015

New Korean Films: The Last Stand Against the Avengers (2015 Week 17)

Coin Locker Girl
(차이나타운)


By Fabien Schneider

A baby girl named Il-young has been left in the locker number 10 of a subway station. She’s taken in by a woman who rules Chinatown thanks to her many adopted many children. With the years passing Il-young becomes one of the most efficient members of the gang. One day, she meets the son of one of her mom’s clients, a friendly and charming young man. She suddenly gets curious about this new world outside of the gloomy atmosphere of Chinatown. It’s at this moment that her mom gives her one last mission.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Korean Films: Homages To Parents (2015 Week 16)

Clown of a Salesman
(약장수)


By Fabien Schneider

Il-beom worked many jobs in his attempt to pay back his loans but his bad reputation always come in the way. Most importantly, his daughter is in need of a treatment for her illness, and this won’t come cheap. That’s why Il-beom starts working at an “information center” despite his initial aversion, because under this cover lies a PR company that organizes events for older women in the intent to sell them healthy food and daily necessities. But he soon realizes that these women are mostly mothers who barely even get visits from their adult children, and that he’s making their lives merrier. One day, Ok-nim, who lives alone so as not to burden her prosecutor son, joins the center and becomes friend with Il-beom.

Friday, April 17, 2015

New Korean Films: People Who Lend a Hand (2015 Week 15)

Black Hand
(검은손)


By Fabien Schneider

Jung-Woo is a married man, but he also has a secret relationship with Yoo-gyeong, one of the doctors he’s working with in a hospital. He works there as a neurosurgeon, but also does research on bioengineering. One day, Yoo-gyeong gets her right hand cut off under strange circumstances. But thanks to Jung-Woo’s reflexes and his skills, he manages to do the operation to put it back on her arm. During the following days, while Yoo-gyeong seems to have perfectly recovered, she starts to lose her mind. When asked, she pretends that there is now someone else in her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Korean Films: Les Amours des séniors (2014 Week 14)

Salut d'Amour
(장수상회)


By Fabien Schneider

The unfriendly and inflexible old man Seong-chil, who is a model employee at Jang-su Mart and proud of his military career and never thinks of other’s feelings, suddenly breaks his outer shell when a woman moves to his neighborhood. Geum-nim looks young despite her age, always smiling in any situation. She takes him by surprise when she offers to him to have dinner together. Even if he tries not to care, he cannot hide his feelings and soon everybody is in the know, even Geum-nim’s daughter and Seong-chil’s boss, and they try to give them advice for their first date. But after having almost forgotten the date, he arrives late for their rendezvous and accidentally discovers her secret.