Friday, September 27, 2013

New Korean Films: (Too) Close Encounters (2013 Week 35)

Playboy Bong
(아티스트 봉만대)

A producer visits one of his directors on his shooting location in Bali, and is clearly not satisfied with the first scenes shot of that erotic horror film. He then takes the decision to call for help another famous director, Bong Man-dae. But the team gets soon annoyed by the authoritarian leadership of the new director, and his will to picture more nudity stirs up a revolt from the actresses. But hiding in the shadow lays the former director who is just waiting for the right moment to take revenge on the pushy playboy.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Korean Films: Hauting Memories, Revenants and Regrets (2013 Week 34)


An unpopular high school student is lead by a band to break into a girl’s place and forced to rape her with them. Ten years later, he finds her by chance at the church. She did not recognize his face, and naturally he doesn’t dare to remind her of this painful memory and thus confess his identity. He seeks at all costs to redeem himself, but when he realizes that she is still overwhelmed by the trauma, he decides to take action by finding the other attackers and confront them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: The Face Reader Is a Terrific Period Yarn

Though absent from Korean marquees this year until now, the period Korean film makes a big comeback with the release of Han Jae-rim's arresting The Face Reader. Sublimely mounted, intriguingly plotted and featuring a terrific cast, this seems the ideal film for Chuseok (Korea's biggest holiday), which it was no doubt carefully tailored for.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1st Chuseok Film Festival Takes Place Next Week

The Chuseok Film Festival, which will screen a variety of Korean films with English subtitles, is set to have its first edition during next week's national holiday. 18 films (including 13 features and 5 shorts) will be shown on September 18th and 19th at Art Nine Cinema in Seoul, located by Isu Station in Megabox on the 12th floor.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review - The Spy: Undercover Operation Should Have Stayed Under Wraps

Korean cinema has gotten very good at staging impressive onscreen spectacle in recent years. Though $10 million budgets used to be a rare thing, reserved for only the most ambitious and promising films, these days an abundance of these pricey projects are flooding the market. As with everywhere else in the cinema landscape, studios feel a need to continually up the ante as they worry about the diminishing attention spans of their audiences. But for every film that spends its money wisely many more appear that could easily be labeled a waste: of the production budget, as well as the audience's time. Which brings us to The Spy: Undercover Operation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Korean Box Office: Now You See Me Rises To First

As we head out of the summer, the major Korean releases of the season are starting to tapper off, leaving the door for America to reclaim some ground ahead of the Chuseok holiday, which will likely see the balance fall back in favor of local releases. Total ticket sales jumped 20% year-on-year to 2.46 million admissions while the domestic market share was only 39%, half of where it stood last year.

Review: Hide and Seek Is Worth the Look

The thriller genre, one of the hallmarks of contemporary Korean cinema, seems to be as strong as ever on the peninsula these days. Many of the country's best commercial films are knee-deep in crime, sex and death, and gussied up in slick atmospheric aesthetics. This summer, as with many before, has seen its fair share of high profile thrillers grip the nation, such as Cold Eyes, The Terror Live, The Flu and now Hide and Seek.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Korean Box Office: Hide and Seek Ekes Out Another First Place (08/23-08/25, 2013)

In the last weekend before many schools start their new terms, business had a last hurrah with 3.24 million tickets sold over the frame, approximately 30% more than last year. A new Hollywood release dampened the market share somewhat, but the take for local product still came in at a powerful 63% (versus 78% in 2012).