Showing posts with label alvin and the chipmunks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alvin and the chipmunks. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick (퀵, Kwik) 2011


Having more or less caught up with all of the this past summer’s major Korean releases, the first thing that comes to mind is that if I ever see a motorbike in a Korean film again, it will be far, far too soon.  The two main culprits in my eyes are Sector 7 and Quick, and the thing that they share in common is Yoon Je-kyoon, the producer who was also the director behind such hits as My Boss, My Hero (2001), Sex Is Zero (2002), Miracle on 1st Street (2007), and Haeundae (2009). Not too long ago I decided to savage Sector 7 in my review as I felt it was a disaster that needed to be called out for the contempt it showed its audience, thinking moviegoers would be content with novel 3D effects at the expense of a solid story and engaging characters.  Thankfully spectators rejected the film as it suffered one of the most calamitous post-opening weekend drops in Korean film history.

Quick is not as bad a film but it does demonstrate a similar lack of respect towards its viewers.  What I mean to say is that it’s an overburdened everything-but-the-kitchen-sink comedy-actioneer that is designed to appeal to everyone but could never hope to satisfy anyone.  There is very little that the filmmakers didn’t throw in to the mix in a bid to attract viewers.  There’s k-pop, gangsters, biker gangs, youth violence, washboard abs, scantily clad women, inefficient police, romance, and of course melodrama, all that in addition to the heavy doses of action and comedy.

Flying bikes

Gi-soo is a former bike gang leader who now works as a speedy bike messenger.  One day he is sent to pick up Ah-rom, a major k-pop star, who turns out to be his ex-girlfriend.  She puts on his helmet but while he was away, someone has put a bomb in it.  Now he must do an unknown man’s bidding with the police and an old rival on his tail.

Quick is primarily an action film and it borrows its concept from the popular 90s Hollywood summer blockbuster Speed (1994), starring Keanu Reeves, it has more or less borrowed its name too.  The action is relentless and the filmmakers cram in pile-ups, explosions, and as much speed as they can into the narrative.  I must say that the action sequences are for the most part convincing but they are just variations on a theme and don’t offer us anything we haven’t seen before.  There’s also a tendency to blend the comedy in with the action, these efforts, rather than add up to something better, mostly fall flat.

Funny bikes

Comedy is a large part of Quick but I think it was either a poor choice or badly handled as it is the cause of most of the film’s many problems.  It’s not particularly funny and, as I’ve already mentioned, it doesn’t blend well with the action, but beyond that it poses two significant issues.  Since a lot of the film is played for laughs, there is no real urgency and the stakes feel very low, a big no-no for an action film.  Secondly, I found the two leads to be terrible, mainly because they have no comic timing.  I know that Lee Min-ki’s new film Spellbound as been received very enthusiastically but here he’s just a pretty face and his performance is hamfisted but also very unbalanced, Gi-Soo never felt like a character.  Kang Ye-won’s is not someone I was very familiar with beforehand but I do recognize her from last year’s Hello Ghost and she seems to be a Yoon Je-kyoon stalwart, this being the fourth film of his she has starred in.  Again she is a pretty face who only seems capable of overacting and her grating performance quickly overstays its welcome.

Sexy bikes

Quick does feel like a missed opportunity though.  At times, with all the different factions facing off against eachother, I felt this could have been like an anarchic Kim Sang-jin (Attack the Gas Station, 1999; Kick the Moon, 2001) film but it’s far too consumerist and cynical to pull that off.  The film lacks a raison d’être, it is merrily an excuse for fast vehicles and pyrotechnics but rather than reinvent the genre or offer up an original style from its mise-en-scene, it expects the money being thrown at the stunts and explosions to impress rather than the way in which they are presented.

Forgive the bad pun but I think the film was made a little too quickly, elements designed to draw in viewers were thrown together, explosions littered the marketing, numerous mid-level stars were cast in small roles but at no point was any effort put into the story, the characters, or the style of the film.  What we’re left with looks more like a drawn-out music video than a feature film and that is definitely not what I go to the movies for.


Money shot

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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (12/23-12/25, 2011)

Tom Cruise's MI4 Scales Over My Way for Surprise Top Spot

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Mission: Impossible 4 (us) 12/15/11 1,230,676 3,677,069
2 My Way 12/21/11 770,220 1,001,676
3 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (us) 12/21/11 517,421 659,039
4 Perfect Game 12/21/11 340,574 473,088
5 Spellbound 12/1/11 184,145 2,536,632
6 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (us) 12/15/11 162,953 383,500
7 Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Reshiram (jp) 12/22/11 130,231 142,727
8 Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Zekrom (jp) 12/22/11 113,229 124,173
9 The Adventures of Tintin (us) 12/7/11 39,870 773,043
10 Arthur Christmas (us) 11/25/11 31,682 614,441
- Punch 10/20/11 856 5,315,682
- My Barefoot Friend 12/15/11 437 1,653
- SIU 11/24/11 271 1,118,060
- Life Is Peachy 12/8/11 223 2,887
- Dancing Cat 11/17/11 191 11,849
- The Forgotten Bag 11/17/11 147 6,323
- Too Many Villains 12/15/11 123 760

As expected, it was a huge weekend at the Korean box office this Christmas but the victor was a surprise.  After months of extraordinary performances from domestic films, the results for this frame are an unfortunate way to wrap up the year.  In total, admissions hit 3.56 million, a 10% gain over last year, one of the busiest weekends in Korean cinema history but sadly Korean films held only three of the top 10 spots and accounted for a below average 36.5% market share versus last year's 56.7%.

Korean audiences seemed starved for either blockbuster fare or children's movies over this past holiday weekend.  The bottom five of the top 10 were all movies aimed at children, including two Japanese animes.  I've been noticing the relatively poor performance of these kids' films over the past few weeks but now that I see the market share their combined efforts occupy I wonder whether foreign distributors were just a little careless in looking at the release calendar for Korea, ultimately too many films with a specific audience battled it out for a piece of the same pie.

However I have been thinking about the potential future of children's movies at the Korean box office.  Typically the country does not produce many of its own but that seems to be changing as audiences are becoming more receptive to the emerging talents of Korean-produced fare for children, especially in animation.  Kung Fu Panda 2 was directed by a Korean-American and this helped it sell over five million tickets.  A little later in the summer Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild became by far the most successful Korean animation ever made as it soared past the two million mark.  Perhaps next winter there will be some domestic children's movies beside all of Hollywood's seasonal offerings.

After last week's huge opening, Mission Impossible IV has actually increased 20% to 1,230,676.  The film has accumulated nearly four million admissions already and has done so against considerable competition.  Tom Cruise and company will likely end up very high on the yearly chart but how far will they go?

Kang Je-gyu's My Way, the highest budgeted Korean film of all time ($30 million) and probably the year's most anticipated film, had a sizable but very underwhelming debut as it took only 770,220, though it has sold just over a million tickets since opening.  Perhaps business will pick up in the coming weeks but this is an alarming start to the blockbuster war film's theater run.  Word of mouth has been mixed so far but awareness is huge for the pic.

The sequel to Sherlock Holmes had a solid debut with 517,42, slightly below the original's bow in 2009.  The Perfect Game had a decent 340,574 weekend but I expected a bit more after the strong previews.  However, there is some positive buzz surrounding the film so business could pick up, though it is a busy marketplace.  Spellbound dropped three spots but held onto to 60% of its business for a 184,145 weekend and with over 2.5 million admissions through this point, the three million mark is not out of the question.

As already mentioned the bottom five in the chart were all children's films:  Alvin and the Chipmunks (162,953); Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Reshiram (130,231); Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! Zekrom (113,229); The Adventures of Tintin (39,870); and Arthur Christmas (31,682).

Outside the Top 10:  Punch shed most of its theaters and sold 856 tickets; My Barefoot Friend added 437 admission in its second week; SIU also lost the majority of its theaters and wound up with 271; Life Is Peachy dropped to 223; Dancing Cat added 191 to its impressive limited run; The Forgotten Bag sold 147 this week; and Too Many Villains, a film I'm tremendously excited to see, sadly sold a paltry 123 tickets in its second weekend, with only 760 in total.

Next Week:  All eyes will be on MI4 and My Way as we see how they perform in their third and second weeks respectively.

The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News 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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Korean Box Office Update (12/16-12/18, 2011)

Weekend of December 16-18:

Title Release Date Weekend Total
1 Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (us) 12/15/11 1,079,510 1,305,581
2 Spellbound 12/1/11 313,159 2,028,187
3 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked (us) 12/15/11 134,916 142,865
4 The Adventures of Tintin (us) 12/7/11 78,342 639,251
5 Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (us) 11/30/11 61,730 1,397,968
6 Arthur Christmas (us) 11/25/11 34,536 571,281
7 The Perfect Game 12/21/11 32,364 45,958
8 Punch 10/20/11 24,895 5,300,134
9 SIU 11/24/11 11,568 1,102,645
10 The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall (uk) 12/15/11 5,350 6,193
- The Final Blow 12/7/11 2,323 56,846
- The Life of a Woman (1968) 1,748 2,551
- My Way 12/21/11 1,192 7,145
- Ryang-kang-do: Merry Christmas, North! 11/17/11 468 9,329
- Amen 12/8/11 360 969

Domestic business took a big hit this past weekend as Korean films were mostly shut out by Hollywood competition.  It was a similar story last year when the seventh Harry Potter film combined with other American fare to shut local movies out.  Admissions were down slightly year-on-year (1.85 versus 1.8 million) as was the Korean market share (22% versus 26%) but it was close and next weekend will no doubt see a big bounce for local products as we wrap up the year.

Tom Cruise's publicity tour of the peninsula seems to have paid off as his new installment in the Mission Impossible, Ghost Protocol, had an enormous 1,079,510 opening weekend.  This accounted for 60% of all business through the three days.  Reviews are positive but competition will be very fierce next weekend when it is likely to cede its crown but perhaps the Christmas frame will be big enough to allow to retain much of its business.

Last week's surprise No. 1 Spellbound, which had increased over an already strong start, lost a little under half its business in its third weekend, no doubt succumbing to foreign competition.  It has already banked over two million admissions and will still eek out a little more but the three million looks to be out of reach.

Hollywood took the next four spots, starting with the new Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel, subtitled Chip-wrecked, which underperformed, just as it did the US.  Its 134,916 take was below its predecessor.  The Adventures of Tintin crumbled over 80% and was left with 78,342.  The new Twilight lost a similar amount, falling to 61,730.  Arthur Christmas, the third Hollywood kids film in the top 6, receded 70% for 34,536. 

Korean baseball pic The Perfect Game scored 32,364 in previews ahead of next weeks opening.  Punch saw another decline that brought it down to 24,895 and now has 5,300,134 admissions to date.  SIU lost 90% of its business as it added 11,568 during its last round in the top 10.  Rounding out the chart was The Phantom of the Opera at Royal Albert Hall, a UK production of the famed musical.

Outside the top 10:  The Final Blow added 2,323 to its haul; 1968 film The Life of a Woman was rereleased and sold 1,748 tickets; My Way filled 1,192 seats in very limited previews; Documentary Ryang-kang-do: Merry Christmas, North! added 468 to its run; and Kim Ki-duk's Amen sold 360 tickets in limited engagements, he claims that there will be no further exhibitions for the film, nor will it become available on DVD, we'll see...

Next Week:  Kang Je-gyu's enormous pan-asian WWII blockbuster My Way looks set to pulverize the box office and coudl set some record numbers.  Also opening will be The Perfect Game which had strong previews this week.  Should be quite a weekend!

The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News 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.