Tag Archives: Korean film

KoBiz App

KoBiz iPhone App

KoBiz App

I found this great little app advertised on the KOFIC website.

The KOBIZ application provides a wide range of information about Korean films, film makers, actors/actresses, companies, film festivals, and industrial news. You can also find Korean film information, trailers, who’s who, and news and reports. KOBIZ is now available at App Store.
1) Korean Film / people / company
KOBIZ is a useful resource where you can easily find information about Korean films, Korean filmmakers, actors/actresses and film companies in Korea.

2) News & Report
You can easily access to news and reports that KOFIC provides.

3) Screening Schedule of Art House Films and Films with subtitled
You can get screening information of art house films and films with subtitled (foreign language) in Korea.

4) International Film Festivals & Markets
You can get information about film festivals and markets in Korea.

5) Box Office
Statistics and weekly & yearly Box Office.


Silenced Wins the Top Prize at Far East Film Festival in Udine

Scene from Silenced

Korean drama Silenced won top prize at the 14th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, which was held from April 20-28. The film also received the highest number of votes ever from festival movie goers, winning the Udine Far East Film Audience Award as well.

The story follows In-ho, an art teacher at a school for deaf children. Amid bribery requests by the principal and administration head, and obvious physical abuse by other teachers on the students, he is forced to take this information to the local authorities.

Dir: HWANG Dong-hyuk, Korea, 2011, 125 mins
Cast: JEONG Yu-mi – SEO Yu-jin, GONG Yoo – KANG In-ho

Silenced was released in September last year in Korean cinema’s. As yet there is no Blu-ray/DVD release date.

Jang Jin

[LKFF] Jang Jin Retrospective at Apollo Cinema

Jang JinDon’t forget, it’s the London Korean Film Festival at the moment (as if you needed reminding), and the Apollo Cinema is holding a rather cool retrospective of Jang Jin films.

A fantastic retrospective of Director Jang Jin’s works will take place exclusively at the Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly. Four of his works will be screened on 8th and 9th November. This also includes Q&A sessions at the screenings of “Guns & Talks” and “Someone Special” and introductions from the director at the screenings of “Good Morning President” and “Murder Take One”.

This is well worth checking out


London Korean Film Festival at the ICA

The HousemaidGreat news for Korean film enthusiasts. The ICA is holding the London Korean Film Festival 2010 from 10 – 14 November.

This it’s fifth anniversary sees its debut at the ICA near Buck House and is showcasing the pick of the best in Korean film.
Notable inclusions are: The Housemaid, Moss, Secret Reunion and Blades of Blood. There are also a selection of shorts and animations and special guests, talks and Director Q&A’s.
Head on over to the ICA website or the festival website to check out the details of the entire festival which is a country-wide event.

I will be in London during the festival and hope to attend at least a couple of nights. I will post if anything comes of it… If you fancy tagging along, drop me a line.

Event Schedule after the jump: Continue reading

Secret Reunion

S Korea: Movie Audience Decreases – Sales Soar [3D or Not 3D?]

Secret Reunion
Secret Reunion
Interesting news this week from KOFIC about the state of cinema ticket sales. Whilst the first half of 2010 has seen a decrease in audience attendance, the total ticket sales amount has sky-rocketed compared to the same period last year.
The reason behind this seems to be James Cameron’s fault, though. Apparently since July 2009 the price of tickets has gone up because of the different kind of movies available – mainly 3D. And it was spearheaded by Avatar. The average ticket was 6,600 won and went up to 7,880 won and it’s mainly the blockbuster or imported Hollywood movies that are seeing to the benefit.

I personally abhore the 3D phenomenon that is currently prevalent and killing the enjoyment of full colour films as they should be seen – I can’t see the point in watching a film through a hazy and fuzzy set of sun glasses – I tested this with the latest Harry Potter, and apart from the migraine onset that it caused I thought the effect was pretty over-rated. Now this is just one man’s opinion, so don’t flame me before I’ve had a chance to really test it out in anger, but I’ll be honest and say that if I have an option of a movie in darkened, fuzzy and headache ridden 3D or full colour splendiferousness… well, I know which one I’ll be choosing…


Mr. Zombie [Korea] Trailer

I found this one over at Han Cinema and couldn’t resist the share…
You can’t go wrong with Zombie flicks, and this one has a different take on the formula: This time the Zombie is a good guy..!

After getting a job in a restaurant to pay back a loan shark, Young-cheol notices that the locals are starting to act a little strangely. When he is bitten and starts his transformation to one of the undead, he receives a call telling him that his wife and daughter have been kidnapped. He is now on a mission to save his family and he doesn’t care if it kills him in the process – oh wait, it can’t…

Trailer after the break
Continue reading


[DVD] JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard [Korea 2009] Trailer

Jeon Woo Chi
Jeon Woo Chi
Directed by Choi Dong-hoon (최동훈)

•Action •Comedy
136min | Release date in South Korea : 2009/12/23

Written and Directed by Choi Dong-hoon, JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard takes us back 500 years when Wizards and Goblins do battle in order to possess an all powerful Pipe. Woochi (Kang Dong-wonSecret Reunion, M, The Duelist) is a Wizard in learning but spends most of his time tricking people (including the King) for his own gain.
When Woochi’s Master is murdered for the Pipe he becomes the prime suspect and locked away in a painting for 500 years by Hwadam (Kim Yoon-seokChaser, Running Turtle) and three Taoist wizards…
Now it’s today and Woochi is needed to help restore the Pipe and vanquish the same Goblins that once conspired to possess the Pipe in the past, because if they succeed the world will fall into chaos and disorder!

Over two hours of action and fun with plenty of laughs. I just finished watching this and couldn’t wait to recommend it. It’s a bit of a departure from Choi Dong-hoon usual fare, Tazza: The High Rollers and The Big Swindle, but it delivers a wicked punch up the throat to recent films that have failed dismally to deliver when it comes to action/adventure films.
A stellar cast including Kang Dong Won, Lim Soo Jung (Happiness, A Tale of Two Sisters), Kim Yoon Seok (The Chaser) and Yu Hae Jin (Truck) pull off such a major event that it’s not surprising it held South Korean box office audiences enthralled gathering in a massive six million admits during the Christmas 2009 period.

Available from Yes Asia on Blu-ray and DVD
First Press 2-Disc Edition comes with cast and crew commentary, pre-production (storyboard, casting, training, photo gallery), making of (CG, production design, action, special effects, lighting), out-takes, trailer, and other special features.

DVD: Possessed (Living Death) [불신지옥]

It’s been a while since I bigged up anything from Korea, so I thought I’d spend the next couple of days going through my watched list and pointing you in the direction of decent flicks that are available now or coming soon. To start, a true gem called ‘Living Death불신지옥 (English release title: Possessed).

Nam Sang Mi (The Ghost, 2005) finally returns to the screen in a horror/thriller directed by débutante Lee Yong Joo, who also wrote the script.
The story centres around Hee Jin (Nam Sang Mi) as she attempts to track down her missing younger sister So Jin, (Shim Eun Kyung (Hansel and Gretel, 2009)), who is suspected of being involved in a spate of local murders and from being possessed by a demon.

The 2 disc DVD is available now over at YesAsia, which offers free shipping.

[Trailer] Haeundae (2009)

Updated with trailer [090816]

Breaking all sorts of box office records in South Korea at the moment, Yoon Je-kyoon‘s (My Boss, My Hero, Sex Is Zero and Miracle on 1st Street) disaster movie – ‘Haeundae‘ is one of those Summer Blockbuster films that you’d be used to seeing on the Hollywood circuit, but that doesn’t mean that this flick is anything less than a major event. The film has drawn an impressive 6 million movie goers since its release on July 22, and that tally is still going up.

In a recent interview, Yoon said he was staying in his home town of Busan when he first heard about the tsunamis that hit South East Asia in December 2004,

“I conjured up a dramatic image of the million or so people who visit Haeundae Beach on holiday suddenly getting swept up in a tsunami, and that initial idea translated into this film”

Read the full article at HanCinema

Korea in Cannes

Combining two of my most favourite things: Park Chan-wook (Old Boy) and Vampires, ‘Thirst‘ sees its release in South Korea today. Not only that but it’s one of 9 Korean films that will be showing at this years Cannes Film Festival.

Thirst‘ is a tale about a priest who has been made a vampire. With this comes many problems for a priest including the repercussions of having an affair with his friend’s wife.
Starring a Chan-wook favourite, SONG Gang-ho, whose list of films include Shiri, JSA: Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Memories of Murder, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, The Host and most recently, The Good, the Bad, the Weird.

Korean films appearing at Cannes:

  • Thirst
  • Mother
  • Like You Know It All
  • A Brand New Life
  • Prince Yeonsan
  • Dust Kid
  • Don’t Step out of the House
  • 6 Hours
  • The Horn

More information can be found at the Korean Film Council web site: KOFIC

Review: Barking Dogs Never Bite

Barking Dogs Never Bite
Barking Dogs Never Bite
This oldie but Goldie from back in 2000 has just made it to the top of my watch list. Yet another film with the enigmatic Bae Doona [Bae Du Na] (The Host, Tube, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) that rates highly in my own personal top ten. She seems to pick ‘em well.
The story centres around two people. One (Doona), a clerk working in an apartment complex as a bookkeeper who has extreme difficulties in staying at her desk. She would rather be chatting to her friend in the nearby store or putting up posters for missing dogs. The other is a struggling father-to-be, desperately trying to get a professorship whilst being downtrodden by his overpowering pregnant wife. His frustrations reach boiling point when I dog in an adjacent apartment (even though dogs are not permitted) starts yapping. When he comes across this dog he decides to take matters into his own hands. A stellar, if not out-of-character performance by Lee Seong-jae (Attack the Gas Station, Kick the Moon, Public Enemy, Daisy) makes this not only a quirky film, but an altogether different type of film. With moments of tense drama, high speed chases and unsettling scenes involving cute dogs (of which none were harmed in the making of the film – so we’re told), this film really hits the spot for a couple of hours of pure indie entertainment.

YesAsia has the film in stock every now and then, keep an eye out for it.

Barking Dogs Never Bite

Hansel And Gretel Gets UK DVD Release

Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel
On September 1st of this year, Hansel and Gretel was released on DVD in South Korea (read my review here). Today, that pressing is pretty much sold out everywhere and we now await a second pressing.
However, a new company based in the UK called Terracotta Distribution has snapped up the film and will release it on DVD on the 16th of January 2009 after it makes its English debut at the London Film Festival.
Also showing at the festival is another South Korean effort; Hong Sang-Soo’s ‘Night and Day‘ and a couple of noteworthy Japanese flicks, Kore-eda’s ‘Still Walking’ and Koji Wakamatsu’s bloody docu-drama ‘United Red Army’ based on the history of student radicalism in Japan.
[via Twitch and BFI]

Oldboy Remake – No Thanks!

Oldboy Remake?
Oldboy Remake?
Some things should be left well alone.
You would think that Hollywood would have learned it’s lesson by knowing full well that they have not made a successful remake of any foreign film, especially Asian … ever. If you disagree, shout out, but I think it’s hard to prove. And before you say that Scorsese got Oscars for his Infernal Affairs rip off, he shouldn’t have done – they should have gone to the original creator – Plus his version sucked [IMO].
And now they’re going to do it again… this time with a film that should be left alone completely.
Yes, Chan-wook Park’s masterpiece: ‘Oldboy’ is getting the Will Smith treatment… Will Smith for God’s sake!! Not only that, it looks like non other that Mr. Steven Spielberg may be at the helm… Oh God help us.
Whilst I have a major amount of respect and admiration for both Spielberg and Smith, I cannot find the words to describe the taste in my mouth caused by this news…

Korea Movie News: Ziyi Gets Revenge

So Ji Sub & Zhang Ziyi
So Ji-sub & Zhang Ziyi
HanCinema reports via [ChanMi's movie news] that So Ji-sub is to star in a new movie with Zhang Ziyi entitled Sophies Revenge due for release next year.
Ziyi has had a quiet time of late with only ‘The Banquet [Ye Yan]‘ of note, but 2009 sees a bout of flicks including the Hollywood picture ‘The Horsemen’ with Dennis Quaid and the one everyone’s looking forward to, ‘Mei Lanfang’ the biopic of the famous Chinese opera singer.
Sophies Revenge is in preproduction now, as is the RomCom – ‘Lost For Words’ in which she is to star alongside Angelica Huston (rumoured).

So Ji-sub made a comeback of 6 years this year to star in the film, ‘Rough Cut’ which was penned by Kim Ki-duk who is also responsible for instant classics such as ‘3-Iron [Bin Jip]‘, ‘Samaria‘ and more recently ‘Dream’.

Review: Eye For An Eye

Eye for an Eye
Eye for an Eye
Kwak Kyung Taek [Friend, Typhoon] returns with his latest caper: Eye For An Eye.
The story revolves around a cop about to resign and become a partner in an insect termination business but is stopped by being dragged into a complex plot that involves someone impersonating him, leaving him breadcrumb clues and driving him towards an old foe.
Revenge, murder and blackmail ensues as a crook leads the cop a merry dance to the films cracking conclusion.

With hints of western crime capers, this film entertains on all levels. The lead parts played by Cha Seung Won (Kick The Moon) and Han Suk Kyu (Shiri) bring an electric balance to their parts. The story rattles along at a great pace keeping you on the edge of your seat for the next plot twist. Great stuff!

When I’m 64…

Empire magazine (UK) has published it’s top 500 films of all time. Appropriately, OldBoy appears at number 64.
KOFIC has more:

The UK’s most popular film magazine, Empire, published its list of the top 500 films of all time, placing PARK Chan-wook’s acclaimed thriller OldBoy 64th in the rankings. For the list, Empire polled more than 150 directors, including Quentin Tarantino and Mike Leigh, as well as 50 film critics and more than 10,000 readers of the magazine.

PARK’s film – – [more]


Review: Hansel and Gretel

A combination of Fairy Tale and surreal terror is what’s in store if you feel up to it. A man who was abandoned by his mother at an early age finds out that she is seriously ill in hospital. On his way to visit her, he crashes his car on a deserted country road and finds himself taken in by a young girl whose picture perfect family are too good to be true. The parents seem to feed their three children sweets and cakes and let them do anything they want.
However, to his dismay he seems to be unable to leave the confines of the cottage that’s buried deep in the forest, every attempt brings him right back to where he started. To get out, he has to solve the riddle of the children’s past as they start to bring in more grown ups from the forest.

This flick works on so many levels that it’s hard to say anything bad about it. The pace is a little lacking but as it’s a dark and surreal adventure I suppose it fits.
It touches on the dark past where families would have to give up their own children due to financial difficulties, abandoning them in homes that have a shaky if not deplorable person running the facility and combines it with a Grimm-like fairy tale that makes you wait with bated breath for the grown up to end up in the furnace.
Gruesome fun …

Hansel and Gretel

Monday August 28, 2006

I stay up most of the night writing in a dumb attempt to catch up on lost time. Dumb because I should really have been getting some sleep to prepare for the day. There’s nothing special going on, but I’ve made an agreement with myself to try and keep the daylight hours for working and the night for sleeping – not vice versa.
Unfortunately I don’t do a good job of this and end up writing with the Oakland game on in the background for company. This meant I had one eye on the TV and one on the book, so at 7 a.m. I looked at the clock and swore with a refined tone to accent the moment in my mind.
Tea and toast later, I hit the office to catch up with some interwub dealings but lose the taste for it after an hour. I put the news on to see what’s happening and promptly nod off.
At 14:15 my mobile goes and it’s Fredrik asking where I am. I check my diary and I have our appointment down as 15:00, an error on someones part, but who knows whose? He explains that the Physio Centre is having an ‘Open Week’ as a 15 year anniversary, and that after 4 p.m. I might be able to see him if he’s not answering too many questions. So, I hit the gym and start a new authored workout that makes me feel really sick, obviously I’m not quite fit enough to do the amount of calorie burning that I eventually achieved.
Fredrik gives my neck the once over and then I head home for a soak.

Pay day brings meat. Joy! I decide to make tonight Chili Night and spend a decent time preparing dinner, then I settle down and watch Woody Allens’ ‘Match Point‘. Glorious.
I top the evening off with another Korean import called ‘Bloody Tie‘.

Unfortunately I’m unable to update my workBlog today … not enough hours…

Monday April 17th, 2006

The blog has suffered from indifference just recently. I’ve not really felt up to making the entries I usually do, for the only reason that I’ve been in a complete downer. Reading the last week or so of entries will probably make you see that, so I suppose an apology is in order. Don’t hold your breath.

I stay up to watch the Giants/Dodgers game on Channel 5. Even though I’m not in the pro-Bonds camp, I have a little soft spot for the dude as I saw him homer in San Francisco when I visited there a few years ago. This was well before all the controversy hit with his alleged steroid use.
The game has it’s ups and downs but it’s kept interesting by the fact that Janne stays up to watch it too, and we IM back and forth through the whole game. That is until the lightweight falls asleep in the middle of the 8th inning – no staying power …

After catching a few zeds, I get up and do some cleaning (it’s something to do!). Then watch the omnibus of this week’s Doctor Who on UK Gold.
I forward Janne the rough draft of the manuscript to see what he thinks of the latest chapter. He likes it, but I think he’d say that anyway. I think I’ll pass it on to my Uncle, Mike – he’s read the first drafts and has been an invaluable source of help when it comes to the book. In fact I chat with him whilst I chat with Janne for a while via IM. He’s off to Greece for a job with the Beeb and won’t be back for 3 weeks, I’ll forward it to him then.

I hit the sofa to watch a strange Japanese war film called ‘Lorelei‘. Strange because it mixes fact with fiction in a way that works in foreign film, but would never work in Hollywood.
The film is based around the exploits of a submarine crew trying to stop the Americans dropping an A bomb on Tokyo during World War II. The submarine has a unique sonar system in the form of a girl whose empathy transmits a 3D image to enable them to navigate the submarine. Yeah, sounds weird eh?

MLB on NASN is the Atlanta NY Mets game, so I head for bed and fall asleep watching it.