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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New Korean Films: Foreign Perfumes (2015 Week 11)

Mongolian Princess
(몽골리안 프린세스)


By Fabien Schneider

Dan-woo has lived 34 years without having a single girlfriend. The only experiences he has had came from the roles he played during his career as a film actor. One day, as he was watching the preview of his last movie, he meets a French writer, Elizabeth. Despite his clumsiness, they become attracted to each other and soon start a relationship that seems like a dream for him. But before they know it, tension arises between them. Dan-woo doesn’t want to leave that dream and decides to direct his own film.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Korean Films: Vengeful Society (2015 Week 10)

Socialphobia
(소셜포비아)


By Fabien Schneider

Ji-woong and Yong-min are two aspiring police officers who are soon going to take exams. When a mysterious “Re-na” leaves a spiteful comment on the Internet about the death of a soldier, they and seven friends decide to go on a vendetta against her. They soon discover who she is and where she lives. But when they go to her apartment to hold her accountable, what they discover is not a victim shamefully apologizing, but a woman who hanged herself. Since they’re now involved, Jin-woong and Yong-min decide to personally investigate what led her to her demise, as they are certain that things are not what they seem.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Korean Films: Deadly Sins (2015 Week 9)

Empire of Lust
(순수의 시대)


By Fabien Schneider

In 1398, six years after the founding of the Joseon kingdom that succeeded Koryeo, a struggle for the designation of the Crown Prince pits two of King Tae-jo’s sons against each other. The fifth son, Lee Bang-won, helped his father so much that he got his hands dirty and thus now expects to be appointed as the next king. But Jeong Do-jeon, the King’s adviser who greatly contributed to the establishment of the new kingdom which he sees bound to be governed by ministers, favors Lee Bang-seok, the eighth son who is still a youth. Between them is Kim Min-Jae, the supreme commander of Joseon who owns his rank due to his successful defense of the borders against the Jurchen and the Japanese pirates. His own son, Jin, has become the King’s son-in-law and tries not to get involved in politics as he enjoy the pleasures of a noble life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

News: Kim Han-min to Follow ROARING CURRENTS with Manchuria-Set War Pic


By Pierce Conran

In the wake of the record-breaking success of last summer's Roaring Currents, Kim Han-min is opting to remain in the period war genre as he is busy preparing a new film called Bongoh Town Battle (working title), about a two-day skirmish between independent Korean forces and the Japanese army in Manchuria in 1920.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: JEON WOOCHI: THE TAOIST WIZARD is a Purely Energetic Fantasy

By Chris Horn
Choi Dong-hoon’s 2009 hit Jeon Woochi: The Taoist Wizard (or Woochi) is a boldly incomprehensible film that challenges viewers to hate it. It’s also an immensely fun—and funny—film that further cements Choi’s reputation as one of the most bankable Korean directors and answers the question, “Remember when movies were fun?”

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Korean Box Office: British Invasion Shuts Out Local Films (2015 WK 9)


By Pierce Conran

Following the busy Lunar New Year holiday, admissions fell to 1.97 admissions over the weekend but the main victims were local films, which saw their market share plummet to 18.5%. In a surprise turn of events, it was the United Kingdom that powered the box office with a 47.5% market share from the top two films, both holdovers.

Friday, February 27, 2015

New Korean Films: Wandering Souls (2015 Week 8)

By Fabien Schneider

Yes, I know, you must have been profoundly perturbed from waiting in vain for my column last week. But rest assured that this absence wasn't caused by my laziness, but was actually the result of an event that is quite rare: there simply was not a single Korean film released that week. No need to worry, the rhythm that you've been used to is back again with three new films gracing theaters this week, all of them independent productions.

The Avian Kind
(조류인간)


Jeong-seok is a famous novelist who spent the last fifteen years exploring the most remote areas of the country, looking for his wife who disappeared suddenly without leaving any trace. His last book recalls the events he went through, which doesn’t go unnoticed. A mysterious woman contacts him on the pretense that she can help him in his quest, while a group of people who also saw their dear ones vanishing think that Jeong-seok is the most fitted to get them to the truth. All the clues put together seem to point toward a village. But what they will discover there goes beyond everything they could imagine.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL Is a Surreal Anti-War Drama


By Chris Horn

There is perhaps no region better suited to make a unique anti-war film than Korea, a country itself split and in a constant state of escalated threats of renewed warfare. Not quite content to make a film weighed down by excessive melodrama, new director Park Kwang-hyun made a splash in 2005 with his quirky, surreal adaptation of Jang Jin’s well-regarded play Welcome to Dongmakgol. Though imperfect, this feature film debut ultimately proves more memorable than most other anti-war films that pile on the misery.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Korean Box Office: Detectives and Spies Lead Lunar New Year Weekend (2015 WK 8)


By Pierce Conran

Business shot up 70% over last week, as 3.88 million holiday spectators flooded the theaters, however that figure was over a million lower than last year's Lunar New Year weekend. Granted it's not exactly as fair comparison as LNY itself fell on Friday in 2014 and fell just before the weekend this year. Against stiff competition from British films and foreign animation, local films barely maintained their market share with 50.2%.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: WAIKIKI BROTHERS, A True Korean Classic


By Pierce Conran

Yim Soonrye could lay claim to being the first female director to forge a lasting career in the Korean film industry. Indeed, she has one of the most varied filmographies among current filmmakers, yet ironically, or perhaps necessarily, she rose to prominence by making a pair of films that explored Korean masculinity far more successfully than the majority of her male contemporaries. 14 years on, her second feature Waikiki Brothers (2001) stands up as one of the best works of contemporary Korean cinema. Though the movement is generally considered to have ended with Lee Chang-dong’s Peppermint Candy in 1999, it’s also a film that could easily be included among the best of the Korean New Wave. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Coming Attractions: CHINATOWN to Battle In Theaters This April


By Rex Baylon

It seems that almost every trailer I write about ends up being an upcoming thriller or crime picture and this time is no different. Han Jun-hee, screenwriter for the 2013 thriller The Gifted Hands, debuts as director this April with Chinatown, or for people who've been paying attention, Coin Locker Girl. Starring Kim Hye-soo, of The Thieves (2012) fame, and Kim Go-eun, who you might remember from the erotic drama Eungyo (2012), Han's picture seems to be a gangster-cum-family melodrama with Kim Hye-soo playing a stern and powerful Chinatown gang boss and Kim Go-eun as her troubled adopted daughter.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: THE KING AND THE CLOWN is a Bawdy, Heartfelt Period Classic


By Chris Horn

There’s no question that Korean period films have continued to increase in popularity in recent years as three of the top ten grossing Korean films by ticket admissions are set during the Joseon dynasty. As Korean studios allocate increasing resources to the next big period films they would do well to study Lee Joon-ik’s masterful The King and the Clown. Not only does Lee capture a thematically interesting story rounded out by compelling performances, but The King and the Clown is brilliant in its sympathetic look at all levels of Joseon society.