Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Unsettling I AM TRASH Revels in Depravity and Dysfunction

By David Bell

Following earlier instalments of Mother is a Whore (2010) and Father is a Dog (2012), Lee Sang-woo completes his thematic trilogy of family dysfunction with I Am Trash (2014), an unflinching depiction of a Seoul street sweeper’s plight to liberate his brothers from sexual deviance after their convicted-paedophile father returns home from prison.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Watch Free Korean Films on Drama Fever!

While many Korean films are available to buy through specialty Asian retailers, options are still frustratingly slim in individual markets outside of Korea. A few local distributors specialize in Asian film distribution but broad selections of easily accessible Korean films (with subtitles) have been hard to come by. But now the online streaming service Drama Fever has expanded into Korean films, and they boast an impressive lineup of free to watch Korean movies that is growing by the week.

Currently featuring 58 titles (54 of which are Korean), Drama Fever showcases the best in commercial Korean cinema and has also been dipping its toes into acclaimed independent cinema. From recent commercial hits such as Very Ordinary Couple, Architecture 101 and The Man From Nowhere to cult favorites such as Antarctic Journal (2005) and The President's Barber (2004) and arthouse fare including Barbie, Vegetarian (2009) and Tale of Cinema (2005), Korean films fans (or indeed any fan of well made cinema), should have no trouble finding something to suit their tastes.

Here at MKC we're very pleased to announced a partnership with Drama Fever, which will include previewing some of the great films they have on show and we may even have a few titles available to view directly on the site before long. Drama Fever titles are only available to viewers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Click here to see what else they have on offer. Happy viewing!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

KOFFIA 2014 Review: THE DINNER Offers Too Many Cold Servings

By Hieu Chau

Creating a compelling domestic family drama is never an easy task mainly due to the stories these films have to tell. The narrative of a family drama is almost never about something new but it definitely takes a certain type of filmmaker to be able to evoke something profound and invigorating out of typically ordinary circumstances. Director Kim Dong-hyun tries his hardest to be that type of filmmaker with his latest family drama, The Dinner, but unfortunately lacks the astute direction and strong scripting that a poised filmmaker such as Japan's Hirokazu Koreeda possesses.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

KOFFIA 2014 Review: Fashion, Feminism and Film Collide in NORA NOH

By Hieu Chau

Fashion has always played a huge part in shaping films despite the fact that costuming is easily one of the most overlooked aspects in film discussions. On a textual level, fashion informs character - one can tell a whole story about a person simply based on costume choices. And this can easily apply to people in reality as well. Then there’s the effect fashion has outside of the film on a cultural and aesthetic level, where audiences seek to emulate and recreate the looks of the stars they see on screen.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

News: Choi Dong-hoon's ASSASSINATION Assembles Killer Cast

By Pierce Conran

Following 2012's blockbuster caper hit The Thieves, director Choi Dong-hoon is back at it with the new period action-thriller Assassination. What's more, he's bringing his The Thieves stars Gianna Jun, Lee Jung-jae and Oh Dal-su with him, along with more star wattage in the form of Ha Jung-woo and Cho Jin-woong.

Monday, September 1, 2014

KOFFIA 2014 Review: HOPE Is An Obvious Yet Successful Tearjerker

By Hieu Chau

It wouldn’t be entirely wrong to say that Korean film has some affinity for children. Whether it’s a crowd-pleasing comedy like Miracle in Cell No. 7 or something a bit darker like Silenced, there really isn’t much of a shortage when it comes to stories about children in Korean cinema. Hope, last year’s recipient for Best Film at the Blue Dragon Awards (beating out films including Snowpiercer, New World, The Berlin File and The Face Reader), is one other such film with a story that’s motivated by children.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Top 25 Korean Films of All Time

By Pierce Conran

I've thought about doing a list like this for some time but frankly found the task quite daunting. Having seen so many Korean films and there being so many that I love, drawing up a list inevitably meant cutting out a large number of films that I wish could get more recognition. But for our 4th anniversary (it's hard to believe it's been that long) I wanted to do something a little special. It certain did prove to be a difficult task...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

MKC Turns 4 & New Plans on the Horizon!

Today marks the 4th anniversary of MKC! After 4 years, 312 reviews, almost 900 posts and 1.05 million views I'm thrilled to say that the site is doing better than ever.

It's a labor of love, but it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for all the passionate fans of Korean cinema out there. So thank you for all the support over the years!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: RED FAMILY's High Concept Suffers From Stilted Delivery

By Pierce Conran

Though as a theme it has spawned some of Korean cinema's biggest hits, including Shiri (1999), Joint Security Area (2000), Silmido (2003), Taegugki (2004) and Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005), the representation of North Korea on screen has always been a thorny one. It's a sensitive topic that is consistently affected by ebbing political tides. Though many different styles of narrative crop up relating to the Korean republic's Northern neighbor, those that have been most palatable to the public have featured themes of camaraderie across the demilitarized zone, films that stripped characters (mostly soldiers) of their ideologies and showed them for what they really were, which is of course people that are not all that dissimilar from one another.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: PLAN MAN Takes A Few Wrong Turns

By Pierce Conran

The 2014 commercial Korean film calendar kicked off with Plan Man, a light and colorful romantic comedy that carries on in a straightforward manner with plenty of humor until a second half that squeezes in some subtle commentary on the regimented lifestyle of working Korean citizens.

Jung-seok is a librarian with a case of obsessive compulsive disorder. He gets up at the same time every day and plans the rest of his life down to the minute, to the point where he even catches the same street light just as it turns green on his way to work in the morning. He falls for a convenience store attendant who exhibits similar tendencies but when she professes a desire for someone who can challenge her nervous tendency to keep everything in its place, he decides to shake up the strict order in his life to steal her heart. He does so with the help of So-jung, a singer-songwriter who is his exact opposite. Though it's someone just like him who first caught his eye, perhaps he will discover that opposites do indeed attract.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

News: KOFA Uploads 15 More of Korea’s Best Films to YouTube for Free

By Pierce Conran

The Korean Film Archive (KOFA) has significantly expanded its YouTube channel, the Korean Classic Film Theater, after adding 15 new titles this summer. Among the new additions are rare titles from Korean cinema masters such as Im Kwon-taek, Yu Hyun-mok, Lee Man-hee, Lee Jang-ho, Kim Soo-yong and Ha Gil-dong.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Kim Yun-seok on Form in SOUTH BOUND

By Pierce Conran

Normally, when a Korean film's characters decamp to the countryside, we can expect terrible things to happen. But Yim Soon-rye's new film offers a refreshing take on this standard formula. While bad things also befall the characters in South Bound, there's a welcome levity to the proceedings.

A family man decides to move his family to an island when life under the finger of the government becomes too much for him. He smashes CCTV cameras in his neighborhood, refuses to have his fingers printed at the police station (during one of his many visits), and thumbs his nose at politicians. Along with his wife and his two youngest children, he moves to a small island off the southern coast to begin a new life in a dilapidated hut, free from the shackles of oppression.