Friday, January 16, 2015

News: For Our Sins, D-WAR 2 Is Going into Production

I'll be honest, I haven't seen D-War (at least not all of it), but it's with a heavy heart that I tell you that Shim Hyung-rae will start filming a sequel to his much-maligned 2007 CGI dragon action film. Following casting, the film is set to go into production in May. The story will this time take place in 1969, as the US and Russia race for the first moon landing during the Cold War.

New Korean Films: Love is Overdue (2015 Week 2)

Love Forecast
(오늘의 연애)

Jun-su was once a young man who had just fallen in love with Hyeon-wu. They started to date, but he couldn’t work up the nerve to confess his love. His feelings have been stuck in his mind for a long time… Like, for a very long time. Eighteen years later, Jun-su now has a job as an elementary school teacher, but he still cannot make his relationships last longer than a few months. Part of the reason is that he still sees Hyeon-wu every day; they have meals together, go to the movies, hold hands, always rely on each other and even know the door codes of each other’s apartment. While Hyeon-wu’s rising popularity as a weathercaster makes her surrounded with suitors, Jun-su wishes to get out of the so-called “friend zone” and make his move.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

News: Chinese MISS GRANNY Set to Become Top Korean Film in China

In its first four days, 20, Once Again!, the Chinese version of Korean hit Miss Granny, topped China's box office with $19.9 million. Produced by CJ Entertainment, which was also responsible for last year's Korean version, the film's strong debut suggests that it will soon become the most successful Korean-produced film in China to date.

News: Rotterdam to Host 19 Korean Films

The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is no stranger to Korean films but for their 44th edition, they've gone all out, programming 19 films across various sections. In addition to some of the latest Korean indie films, many from Busan, the festival has also announced a 12-title Jang Jin retrospective.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

News: ODE TO MY FATHER Joins the 10 Million Viewer Club

After four weeks, JK Youn's blockbuster melodrama Ode to My Father joined the 10 million viewer club last night. It is the 11th Korean film to do so at the local box office and the 14th overall. It's also the fourth film of 2014 to reach the mark (a record), along with Frozen, Roaring Currents and Interstellar, and the first time that a director has breached the barrier twice, since Youn's previously managed the feat with Haeundae in 2009.

Monday, January 12, 2015

23 Most Anticipated Korean Films of 2015

By Pierce Conran

Last year was a rough one for Korea's mainstream industry, at least creatively speaking. There were some big hits but not a lot of memorable fare, though the independent sector thrived. Thankfully, 2015 has a much more exciting lineup right off the bat. Major filmmakers like Park Chan-wook, Na Hong-jin, Ryoo Seung-wan, Im Sang-soo and Choi Dong-hoon are set to return and though period films and thrillers once again dominate, many upcoming projects feature promising combinations of talent and content.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

News: Oh Dal-soo is the 100 Million Viewer Man

We don't hear much news about Korea's wealth of talented supporting players but here's a nice little tidbit. Character actor Oh Dal-soo has become the first Korean actor to appear in films that have attracted over 100 million viewers at the local box office. Quite a feat in a country of 50 million people.

Friday, January 9, 2015

News: 6 Korean Films Headed to Göteborg

The film festival train is back in full swing and the Göteborg International Film Festival, one of the first major events of the year, revealed its 38th program, which kicks off on January 23rd. As always, there will be a strong Korean presence in Sweden with six titles in the lineup this year.

New Korean Films: Platonic Romance or Edonist Pleasure? (2015 Week 1)

by Fabien Schneider

After an excessively long break, I am pleased to announce that I am once again ready to make you discover every week the latest productions that find their way to South Korean theaters. Let me remind you the principle of this section: for each film I will briefly present the synopsis, then I will share my own commentary on the expectations that these films generate, the response of the public and critics, the way the film is promoted, and anything that might be relevant to assess the value (or lack thereof) of the film. It goes without saying that these comments are based solely on the information available at the time of writing. Of course, for the vast majority of these films, I would have not seen them before their theatrical release. Do not be surprised then if a movie that I would have viciously criticized turns out to be a wonder. So let's start this week with two very different movies.

Casa Amor: Exclusive for Ladies

Bo-hee is a business woman who places her career as the marketer of a toys’ brand before her family. Her husband is sexually frustrated, and his son feels abandoned. But following an unfortunate mistake during a presentation, she finds herself unemployed. As if it wasn’t enough to spoil her day, she comes back home only to find a note from her husband announcing their separation. Hopefully, she’ll attempt to retrieve her fortune by taking an unexpected job. Nan-hee owns a sex shop, and has become a true reference in matters of sex. According to her, the world is divided between women who take pleasure and those who don’t. But despite all her knowledge and experience, she still fails at selling her products. She decides to hire Bo-hee to promote her new line of “toys”.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: ODE TO MY FATHER Puts Blockbuster Spin On Melodrama

By Pierce Conran

Family takes centre stage in Ode to My Father, a new Korean melodrama that is every bit as bombastic as this year's naval battle hit Roaring Currents. Directed by JK Youn (Youn Je-kyun), whose last film Haeundae sauntered over the 10 million admissions barrier in 2009, this new epic drama proves to be an expert balance of scale and intimacy that will surely find a huge audience at home.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Top 10 Korean Films of 2014

2014 was an interesting year for Korean cinema. From a financial standpoint, the industry remained strong and produced its most successful film of all time (Roaring Currents), even if sales weren't quite able to reach the peaks of the preceding two years. However, from a qualitative angle, the picture was far less rosy. Early in the year, studio slates looked promising but many of the finished products, while undeniably polished, felt overworked and lacked originality. This speaks to growing concerns over corporate influence in the industry's current creative streak. Some feel that talented and especially younger filmmakers aren't being afforded the freedom they used to.

Hong Sangsoo Taps Jung Jae-young, Kim Min-hee and More for 17th Film

Prolific auteur Hong Sangsoo is getting ready to shoot his 17th (as yet untitled) film this month after fixing his leading cast. Previous collaborators Jung Jae-young (Our Sunhi, 2013) and Yu Jun-sang (The Day He Arrives, 2011) will be joined by Hong first timers Kim Min-hee (Helpless, 2012) and Ko Ah-sung (Snowpiercer).