Showing posts with label dangerously excited. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dangerously excited. Show all posts

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (07/13-07/15, 2012)

Deranged Infects the Charts

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Deranged 7/5/12 43.60% 1,148,211 3,226,499 734
2 The Amazing Spiderman (us) 6/28/12 28.80% 679,675 4,396,250 652
3 Two Moons 7/12/12 7.60% 204,806 238,454 347
4 Dangerously Excited 7/12/12 4.90% 127,816 157,225 278
5 A Letter to Momo (jp) 7/5/12 3.80% 108,895 247,814 248
6 Limitless (us) 7/12/12 2.30% 60,765 76,399 159
7 Midnight in Paris (us) 7/5/12 2.50% 60,051 196,927 144
8 Madagascar 3 (us) 6/6/12 2.00% 54,143 1,606,573 163
9 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (uk) 7/12/12 0.90% 22,967 31,650 149
10 Street Dance 2 (us) 7/12/12 0.80% 20,875 26,179 133

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (07/06-07/08, 2012)

Deranged Beats Spidey in Massive Debut

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Deranged 7/5/12 39.20% 1,128,335 1,323,523 755
2 The Amazing Spiderman (us) 6/28/12 42.90% 1,059,076 3,362,773 896
3 A Letter to Momo (jp) 7/5/12 3.30% 102,728 114,887 252
4 Madascar 3 (us) 6/6/12 2.80% 83,087 1,545,255 247
5 The Raven (us) 7/5/12 2.40% 65,946 87,472 264
6 Midnight in Paris (us) 7/5/12 2.30% 61,735 80,391 187
7 All About My Wife 5/17/12 2.00% 56,070 4,516,210 184
8 The Emperor's Concubine 6/6/12 1.60% 44,226 2,569,270 252
9 Haywire (us) 7/5/12 0.90% 26,675 34,093 199
10 Cabin in the Woods (us) 6/28/12 0.80% 20,773 211,874 184

Weekly Review Round-up (06/30-07/08, 2012)

Sorry for the delay, it's been a busy week. Not too many writeups this week but a few from NYAFF and TKFF which are both underway.


(The Korean Times, July 2, 2012)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 2012 Korean Releases

This monthly features previews the coming month's attractions in Korean cinema. All of these monthly posts are available in an archive on the Upcoming Releases page.

July 5


July 12

Bloody Fight in Iron-Rock Valley
Dangerously Excited
Sex, Lies and Videotape
Two Moons
Venus in Furs

July 19

Tears of the Antarctic
The 5-Million-Dollar Man
Ukelele Love Together

July 25

The Thieves

July 26

Horror Stories

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly Review Round-up (05/12-05/18, 2012)

A lot of reviews this week and many of them for a trio of action/war film which are currently making the rounds in North America, either in theatres or on the home video market.  I'm thrilled to see such interest in these titles but the fact that they all stem from the same genre doesn't really give me high hopes for expanding English-language consumers interest in the broader Korean film industry.  THese titles just confirm that Korean cinema, at present, is still viewed as a niche genre industry abroad, which couldn't be further from the truth.  Sigh...

Also from now on you may notice a few more Twitch reviews as I have been taken on as their Korean correspondent.



(Twitch, May 12, 2012)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekly Review Round-up (05/05-05/11, 2012)

Many reviews for a wide variety of films this week and I've rejigged the subsections to reflect films that have already been released in Korea and those that have played at international festivals but have, as of yet, not secured a Korean release date.

Over on the VCinema Show website, which I am a contributor for, Adam Hartzell has embarked on a week-long consideration of Hong Sang-soo's The Day He Arrives as he posts his thoughts after seeing it every day during its week long engagement in San Francisco.  Below are the links to his special feature with only the final day outstanding, which will likely be posted this evening:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dangerously Excited (나는 공무원이다, Naneun Gongmoowonida) 2012

After being in the doldrums for a few years, Korean cinema seems to have regained its stride as it rebuilds its reputation abroad.  However, as much as I’m thrilled to see new Korean film festivals, on-demand ventures and a free classic Korean film youtube channel, when it comes to Korean entertainment, the word on everyone’s lips these days is k-pop. 

Hollywood’s Rihanna, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Usher and co. are getting some serious challenges from the likes of 2NE1, Girls Generation, Big Bang and BoA with their sharp moves, fresh threads and slick videos.  The industry has featured in many recent Korean films, like the k-pop themed drama Mr. Idol (2011) and horror White:The Melody of the Curse (2011) and its stars are also making strides to the silver screen, such as Big Bang’s Top in 71: Into the Fire (2010).  Personally I don’t really listen to pop music so k-pop tends to fall just outside my radar though even I am aware when someone like Rain goes to do his military duty!  The sector is so big that it’s hard to ignore it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Udine Far East Film Festival Day IX Report

Ongoing reports on the 14th Udine International Film Festival which Modern Korean Cinema will be covering onsite.

And so Udine comes to a close it's been a great week and I just got back in a moment ago.  Here are my thoughts on the last day's films and tomorrow I will recap the whole week.

The Divine Bow
(South Korea, 1979)

Im Kwon-taek’s second film of the retrospective was also the third island drama in the programme.  After the motherhood themes of Kim Ki-young’s Iodo (1977) and the changing roles of women examined in Kim Soo-young’s Splendid Outing (1978), Im’s The Divine Bow also featured a female protagonist but this time the focal point was shamanism.

Shamanism is frequently represented in Korean cinema but for the most part it is an element rather than a major theme, aside from Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-ok’s incendiary Night Fishing (2011).  Generally speaking it features prominently in K-horrors, like Possessed (2009) and Ghastly (2011) and is almost always presented in a negative light.  Im, as he moved towards a more reflective style of filmmaking in the mid-70s, became interested in Korean culture and history and particularly in shamanism, which, unlike other religions of the peninsula, has much older roots in the country.

Im’s exploration of the rituals and traditions of the belief structure is almost reverential.  Rather than make a positive or negative commentary on it, he opts to explore it and leave us to draw our own conclusions.  The best scenes of the film, led and brought to life by the great Yun Jeong-hee (Poetry, 2010), are the hypnotic ritualistic dances.  The film is also impressive in its mise-en-scene, especially with its resplendent location shooting.  All told The Divine Bow is a great early Im feature which hints at some of his greatness of later years.

(South Korea, 1975)

Flame, from Yu Hyun-mok, is one of the more well-known films in the ‘Darkest Decade’ retrospective and I’ve had it on the long finger for some time.  Just like Rainy Days (1979), screened earlier this week, the film is set in a village in the past and appears to be an anti-communist film.  However one doesn’t have to search too far for Yu’s real intention, which has more to do with intolerance and hypocrisy in his own country rather than the one North of the border.

The film begins with an unknown and injured man with a rifle, running away from something.  The sequence is edited in slow motion and complemented with an effective score.  It is also quite disorienting and this is exacerbated when the narrative begins to unfold in flashback, via a number of unidentified snippets which we are left to decipher.  This does pose a practical problem as it is a little difficult to piece together the plot and to recognize the characters within it but it is also deliberate and serves its purpose.

Yu employs this experimental structure to highlight the confusion of the period.  Koreans underwent constant change during the colonial period and this only got worse during the Korean war.  Following that, the country, though recently autonomous, became authoritarian under its new military rulers and then switched in the 60s to an even worse dictator.  The period that the film chronicles goes no further than the Korean war but Yu seems to be commenting on a broader historiographical context which also includes recent and present times.

Questions of family, loyalty and duty are explored, just as they were in Rainy Days, and make this another fascinating work.  When I get to Korea I will be trying very hard to get my hands on the out-of-print Korean Film Archive’s Yu Hyun-mok’s DVD boxset to further my discovery of this great filmmaker.  Another wonderful retrospective film, I’m just sad that it was the last one...

Romancing in Thin Air
(Hong Kong, 2011)

There have been a lot of films about filmmaking on the festival circuit this year and the format has yielded many great works.  Sadly, Johnny To’s latest does not sit well alongside this crowd.  Romancing in Thin Air is a romance, which is nothing new for the prolific director, but for his occidental fans who are primarily know him through his action and gangster films like The Mission (1999), Election (2005), and Exiled (2006), this will not be required viewing. 

It isn’t a bad film and just like the rest of To’s oeuvre, it features strong mise-en-scene.  It even throws in some clever postmodern elements, like the film within a film, which enhance the romantic aspect and raises a few interesting questions regarding our relationship with the medium.  With all of its intertextual elements, I’m not sure that it’s really trying to say anything but the joy is the hint of something grander.  It doesn’t make grandiloquent statements like Amir Naderi’s grandiose Cut (2011), which I had the chance to see at last month’s Fribourg International Film Festival, nor does it mine the catharsis of creativity like The Woodsman and the Rain (2011), but it does titillate nonetheless.  I guess I’m just a sucker for movies that shine a light on their construction.

The film follows a Hong Kong actor who exiles himself to an out of the way resort in the Yunnan province where he meets a no-nonsense woman who seems indifferent to his status and charm, though is secretly one of his biggest fans.

Romancing in Thin Air is certainly not the greatest in To’s body of work but a charming and thoughtful effort nonetheless, though I imagine many people will not have time for it.

Dangerously Excited
(South Korea, 2012)

This is the only Korean film playing that has yet to be released in theaters (it opens in July), so it was nice to get the jump for once and not be influenced by any sort of critical consensus.  Dangerously Excited is a charming little film about a civil worker who excels at his job.  Through a series of events he winds up host to a young indie band which he then becomes the bassist for.

Yoon Jae-moon takes the lead in this film and though he is recognizable from a host of major recent Korean films (The Good, the Bad and the Weird, 2008; Mother, 2009), this is the first time I’ve seen him take the lead in a film.  He’s a natural fit as the straightlaced office worker who treasures the order in his life and his performance never veers into caricature.

I will write a full review of Dangerously Excited for MKC soon but it’s safe to say that it is a very enjoyable film if somewhat slight and not altogether memorable.

(South Korea, 2012)

Unbowed, after its release earlier this year during the lunar day holiday, met with much the same reaction as last year’s Silenced.  They were both incendiary courtroom dramas based on real events that became big commercial and critical hits while also serving to open up long overdue national dialogues about Korea’s justice system and its rampant cronyism.  In fact in the space of few months there were three high profile Korean courtroom dramas that connected with audiences, the other being The Client (2011), itself a strong feature which also alluded to problems in the country’s legal system but was mainly a generic (and fictional) piece.

Chung Ji-young hadn’t made a feature film in 14 years and he’s not quite in step with the industry standards of today but it’s just as well as his effective but unobtrusive style leaves the film in the hands of its strongest elements: its excellent cast and brilliant script.

Ahn Sung-ki is perfect for this role, there’s really no other word for it.  He is absolutely convincing as a fiercely intelligent and pragmatic man driven to the edge,  his standoffs with the cold judge (Moon Sung-kun, equally formidable) are intense and cathartic.

I will also be reviewing this film properly in the coming days but if you get a chance to see it, Unbowed is a must and already 2012’s best Korean film (admittedly I’ve only seen two!)

The Woman in the Septic Tank
(Philippines, 2011)

My final film of the festival was a bit of a wild card but I was excited for it as I had been told that it was yet another film about filmmaking.  The Woman in the Septic Tank is an outright comedy that takes aim squarely at that which has been dubbed ‘poverty porn’, a type of film that is typical produced in a developing nation and which appeals to film festival goers by depicting harrowing despair.  The Udine Far East Film Festival does their utmost to steer away from this kind of film and even says so in its trailer, so it’s only fitting that this film, which in a sense reaffirms the festival’s aims was the penultimate film of the week.

A couple of young filmmakers in Manila are looking to make a brilliant art film that will go straight to Cannes and the narrative begins with a few scenes of the film.  They are slow, depressing and boring but also hilarious as they exaggerates all the worst elements of these types of films.  However most people in the audience didn’t seem to understand that it was joke until we cut to the fresh-faced filmmakers in the car heading to a coffeeshop to order soy mocafrappucinos or gold knows what else.

The star of their film is going to be Eugene Domingo and she uproariously sends herself up in a great cameo and also various performances within the film’s film.  During one scene the director and producer argue about who should play the lead, a mother of seven in a Manila slum who sells a child to a Caucasian pedophile.  Aside from Eugene they also consider Cherry Pie, for me this was hilarious and also eye-opening as she was in Fable of the Fish (2011), which I saw last month at the Fribourg International Film Festival, essentially the same role in the exact kind of film that this one seeks to ridicule.  I need to find out which one was made first!

Though not on the level of some other movies about the industry that I’ve seen so far this year, The Woman in the Septic Tank is outrageous and extremely refreshing, especially if you’re familiar with the festival circuit.

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Preview: 14th Udine Far East Film Festival

This Friday, the 14th Udine Far East Film Festival gets underway presenting one of the best lineups of Asian cinema to be found outside of the continent.  MKC will be onsite covering the event though since I only get there on Sunday night I will have missed the first few days, which sadly include some of the films I was most excited about.  Long have I known about the FEFF and wanted to go so I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to attend this year and sample the many films on offer.

Unlike last month's excellent Fribourg International Film Festivsl, which MKC also covered, the FEFF's programme is much more closely aligned to this site's focus, namely Korean cinema.  In the standard section of the festival, which encompasses the majority of the films, there will be ten Korean films presented.  Outside of this there are an additional ten films selected in the 'Darkest Decade: Korean Filmmakers in the 1970s' sidebar, curated by Darcy Paquet.

Among the remaining 40-odd films there is a lot I'm looking forward to.  One film that jumped out to me was Seediq Bale (2011), the Taiwanese epic but unfortunately that will be playing before I arrive.  There are a few Hiroki Ryuichi (The Egoists, 2010; River, 2012) and Pang Ho-cheung (Love In a Puff, 2010; Love in the Buff, 2012; Vulgaria, 2012) films I will checking out as well as offering from all over Asia like Malaysia (Songlap, 2011), Thailand (It Gets Better, 2011), Philippines (6 Degrees of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay, 2011), Hong Kong (The Bounty, 2012; The Viral Factor, 2012) and Japan (Sukiyaki, 2011; The Woodsman and the Rain, 2011).

New Korean Films

Kicking off the festival will be the popular Korean hit Sunny (2011) which has been winning over audiences the world over.  In attendance will be director Kang Hyeong-cheol and producer Lee Anna.  Also playing will be Dangerously Excited (2012), the only Korean film on the program that has yet to be released in theatres.  I was also dangerously excited for this until I realised that I won't be there for it.

Not to worry though as I will get the chance to see Unbowed (2012) and Punch (2011) on the big screen.  I have seen the other new Korean films and it's a strong selection, particularly with the presence of Moby Dick (2011) and Silenced (2011), though I was surprised to see Perfect Partner (2011) included.  Below are MKC's available reviews for the selection:

Darkest Decade: Korean Filmmakers in the 1970s

The most exciting thing about this year's FEFF for me is without a doubt this retrospective of 1970s Korean cinema.  Heavyweights of classic Korean cinema Im Kwon-taek, Kim Ki-young, Kim Soo-yong and Yu Hyun-mok are all featured twice and make this sidebar a must.

I'll be leaving from Switzerland at 7am by train on Sunday and should arrive about 12 hours later in Udine after a stop in Milan.  I'm dying to get there and if you will also be making your way to the festival, please don't hesitate to contact me (pierceconran [at] modernkoreancinema [dot] com).

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Korean Cinema News (04/05-04/11, 2012)

A fair amount of news this week and a handful of major announcements.  A short while ago, Darcy Paquet mentioned on his twitter that Jeon Do-yeon may be starring in Lee Chang-dong's next picture.  This would reunite them for the first time since Secret Sunshine (2007) which won Jeon a best actress prize at Cannes.  Darcy also revealed that Jeon may be collaborating with Lee Yoon-ki (This Charming Girl, 2004; My Dear Enemy, 2008; Come Rain, Come Shine, 2011) following that.  If these materialize they will projects to be very excited about!

Another major announcement is the unveiling of the 14th Udine Far East Film Festival (20-28 April, 2012) lineup.  The press conference was streamed yesterday and MKC live-tweeted as much as it could understand (the broadcast was in Italian).  The program looks great and I'm really looking forward to the event which I will covering on site.  Particularly interesting is the European premiere of Dangerously Excited and of course Darcy Paquet's 1970s cinema retrospective.  Lineup is available below:

The other big news this week is the upcoming Terracotta Far East Film Festival in London which will open with a presentation of Kang Je-gyu's My Way.  Below are some great previews of the event, wish I could be there!


Third Time With Director Lee Myeong-se
Ahn Seong-ki will make an appearance as the senior of Cheol-soo (Seol Kyeong-gu), a National Intelligence agent, in the new Lee Myeong-se film.  He won't appear much but it's a key role that will add weight to the overall film.  It seems that Ahn Seong-ki decided to star in this movie for his friendship with the director.  The two met on the 1999 movie Nowhere To Hide and also in the 2005 movie Duelist.  (, April 4, 2012)

Lectures on Local Films for Foreigners
The Korea Foundation will hold a series of six lectures on Korean films this month. "Open Lectures on Korean Culture for Foreigners: Treasures of Korean Cinema".  The Foundation was established in 1991 by the Korean National Assembly with the aim of enhancing the image of Korea to people around the world who have Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash Player version 10.1.0 or greater installed on their computers.  (The Dokdo Times, April 4, 2012)

Actress Im’s Upcoming Film Revealed to Be Argentinean Remake
Upcoming romantic comedy Everything about My Wife, starring stars Im Soo-jung and Lee Sun-kyun, was belatedly found to be a remake of an Argentinean movie released in 2008.  The production house has never mentioned the flick being an adaptation of Un novio para mi mujer (A Boyfriend for My Wife) by director Juan Taratuto. Some websites have even credited director Min Kyu-dong as the screenwriter.  Zip Cinema, the producer of the film, confirmed the fact Wednesday only when asked by The Korea Herald.  (The Korea Herald, April 5, 2012)

South Korean Company Wants You to Feel, Smell, and Taste Titanic as it Sinks. Have They Gone Overboard?
One South Korean company is taking movie-going…to the next level.  The company: CJ 4DPlex Co., which almost certainly boasts an all-robot staff.  The movie: Titanic, of course.  As millions of Americans drink in the sights and sounds of James Cameron’s masterpiece in just three lousy Ds, their thrill-seeking brethren in South Korea, Mexico, China, and Thailand will be enjoying Titanic in 4DX.  (Entertainment Weekly, April 5, 2012)

Emirates Korean Film Fest Begins
The second Emirates Korean Film Festival got underway in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President’s Representative and Chairman of the Sultan bin Zayed Centre for Culture and Information.  The festival, which will run until Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Theatre, features a remarkably rich lineup of recent Korean films.  Seven feature films are being shown, providing an opportunity for the UAE’s film audience to experience some of South Korea’s dynamic film culture.  (Khaleej Times, April 7, 2012)

Sports Flick As One Targets Patriots
It was the beginning of 1991, when the South and North Korean governments made an unprecedented attempt to warm relations by fusing their national sports teams together.  After a couple of months, the unified Korean table tennis team broke the Chinese stranglehold on the highest podium of the world championships.  Coming to theaters in May is a film that tries to recreate the gold-medal-winning chemistry, titled As One.  (The Korea Times, April 10, 2012)


Vengeance Violence and the Sentimental in Korean Film - Part I
A man holding a hatchet chases a car full of gangsters down an empty, wide boulevard. He looks down and sees blood pouring from a bullet wound in his abdomen. He approaches the first car he sees. A man on a phone screams and flees. He continues to chase the car of gangsters. But he is bleeding heavily. He must find something to stem the tide of blood before he passes out. He needs to find the girl. But first he needs to get the bullet out. Darkness is closing in. Fade out.  (Heso Magazine, April 9, 2012)


Dangerously Excited

Don't Click


All About My Wife

A Muse

Dangerously Excited

Forest of Time

Red Maria

Taste of Money


(Modern Korean Cinema, April 8, 2012)

Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.