Korean Korner

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Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:06 am

Yeogo goedam II (1999) Memento Mori, Whispering Corridors 2

Directed by Tae-Yong Kim, Kyu-Dong Min

Starring Min-sun Kim, Yeh-jin Park, Young-jin Lee

The only connection between this film and the original Whispering Corridors is the fact that it is also set in an all girls school, and helped launch a few acting careers, this is not a sequel in any way.

Incorrectly listed as a horror, this is instead a tragic romance. Two students, Hyo-shin and Shi-eun have been ostracised due to their relationship, which has gone beyond friendship. The problems for Hyo-shin run deeper as she has also been having an affair with one of the male teachers and has fallen pregnant. The two girls have kept a diary between themselves sharing thoughts and details of their love, Min-ah, another student finds the diary one-day and starts delving into its secrets.

From there we flashback to various points in the relationship, there are no scenes of a sexual nature though its clear that they are a couple. We bounce between the flashbacks and the present taking in Hyo-shin's suicide with all the speculation and rumour attached. Min-ah appears to become possessed or haunted by Hyo-shins spirit until it takes control of the whole school finally gaining release once retribution has been sought.

Despite the poor subtitling on the dvd I have, the story is easy enough to follow, with the release of the region 2 Pal dvd soon it should flow even better. Quite a decent film, very different from the first in the series and the favourite for many people. No CGI, very little in the way of special effects and turning its focus away from the standards of discipline in Korean schools to the topics of friendship, love and tolerance.

Certainly worth a rental, entertaining though not in the slightest bit scary.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 12.

Region 2 Pal dvd available soon from Tartan, region 3 ntsc dvd available from several retailers including a 6 disc version

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:51 am

Art Museum by the Zoo (199 Misulgwan Yup Dongmulwon

Directed by Jeong-hyang Lee (The Way Home)

Starring Shim Eun-ha (Christmas in August), Lee Sung-jae (Public Enemy)

A light romantic drama that could easily have been named The Misfits or any one of a dozen other names.

On taking some leave from the army, Chul-su (Lee Sung-jae) returns to the apartment he shares with Da-Hye only to find she left the apartment and him 2 months earlier for another man. Instead he finds a new tenant, Chun-Hi (Shim Eun-ha), who works filming weddings and is an aspiring screenwriter. They are completely different from each other; she is messy and disorganised, he is loud, gruff but very tidy, at first they do nothing but argue and irritate each other but over the long haul its a case of opposites attracting as he helps her (or should that be hinders) in completing a screenplay for a competition.

The original concept involves two storylines running consecutively, the couple forced into sharing the apartment and the couple in the screenplay. The imaginary or screenplay sequences are filmed in delicate but muted tones, at times just sepia and generally with a soft focus lens but there are times when paths cross between reality and fiction which all adds to the atmosphere.

A nice genial undemanding romantic drama with a touch of all to human comedy as this odd couple gradually fall for each other.

The soundtrack is an eclectic mix of saxophone dominated easy going jazz and 90s pop, I cant say I was particularly struck by it but it did tie in nicely with the story. Confession time; I really didn't like the soundtrack but I know from other reviews that I'm in a minority on this one, I don't like lazy jazz style music and I can't stand "The Beautiful South" so even though it all fits within the context of the story, I found it annoying.

If theres one genre that typifies Korean films over the last 10 years or so its the romantic drama for 20+s, They generally appear to bring a unique idea to each one and this is a more than decent example.

Like many others, its not essential viewing but its certainly a pleasurable way to spend an evening, recommended for those who enjoy quirky and original romances.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but probably PG.

Region 3 ntsc dvd available from EDKO.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:49 pm

Untold Scandal (2003) Scandal - Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa

Directed by Lee Je-yong

Starring Lee Mi-suk (3-Iron), Jeon Do-yeon (Happy End), Bae Yong-jun

If youve seen any of the numerous versions of Dangerous Liaisons or Cruel Intentions youll know the basic story which has transferred well in this Korean period/costume drama. If not, its quite simply about a wager, a wager that has deep repercussions for those involved.

This version brings full period details and archaic upper class manners to life. It's smart, sexy (not explicit) and only suffers from being a little too long. Set in late 18th Century Korea with the sudden rise of the new (to Korea) religion Christianity which plays its part in the plot and provides the intended victim of the wager, class and social structure/distinction are also very important elements to this tale.

An effective romantic tragedy, slightly humorous, very decadent and gorgeous to look at, a feast for the eyes and senses as European Baroque music plays in the background surprisingly fitting in perfectly within the context of the film and also connecting it to the original novel.

As you would expect the standard of the performances from the whole cast is excellent though Bae Yong-jun and the ever impressive Jeon Do-yeon deserve special mention for their roles.

A definite recommendation, you wont find too much originality but you will find it entertaining. Unlike Japan, Korean period dramas are pretty thin on the ground and this is a welcome addition.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 18.

R2 Pal dvd available from Soda Pictures. R1 ntsc available from Kino. Various R3 and R0 dvds also available from several suppliers.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby chard09 » Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:00 am

Hi trevor. Untold Scandal is a very popular film here among students. Sadly I haven't seen it yet. I'll find time.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:31 pm

H (2002)

Directed by Jong-hyuk Lee

Starring Jung-ah Yum (A Tale of Two Sisters, Tell Me Something), Ji-ru Sung (Memories of Murder, Public Enemy}, Jin-hee Ji

H is one of those films that Ive read so many poor comments about that I watched it with very low expectations. That was probably for the best because if I hadnt had low expectations Id probably just be carping on about how much it blatantly rips from Se7en and Silence of the Lambs. Despite the obvious connections it does have enough originality to hold it together and provide a decent serial murder mystery with some original ideas.

A series of murders are taking place in Seoul, all the victims are women and are copycats of a serial killer (Shin Hyun) who has been behind bars for several months after giving himself up. Of course the police question the interned murderer, this is where it heads into Silence of the Lambs territory as he appears to be in control of the inquisitors, diverting the questioning and giving off an air of enigmatic superiority (certainly no Hannibal Lecter though) and a series of cryptic clues.

As for the elements that tie it in with Se7en, each victim has been chosen carefully and with reason, each has been killed in a way that (to the killer) suits their supposed crime, the crime scenes are also quite grotesque which is also similar to Se7en.

To find the killer the police must delve deeper and deeper into the mind and crimes of Shin Hyun, he is extremely misogynistic and further into the film the police discover why. There is a twist at the end that reveals the H of the title and although its fairly easy to work out what it means beforehand, the finale is still quite surprising.

Although you may think the fact that all the victims being women and the misogynism of the original killer make this sound like a very masculine film youd be wrong. The two emotionally strongest and certainly most intelligent people are women, one a police detective whos boyfriend (also a detective) died during the search for the original killer and the psychiatrist who sees the confidentiality of her patients as more important than the murder of someone she doesnt know.

Quite slow paced with a central character (detective) who is a little too melodramatic for his own good, this film wont change your life and does not compare with Memories of Murder or Tell Me Something (which I feel I may have underrated) but its not that bad either. If you do see it, expect the worst and you will find a fairly decent film, believe me, Ive seen far, far worse than H.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated 18

R2 Pal dvd available from Tartan Video

Re: Korean Korner

Postby nate » Sun Jan 29, 2006 1:11 pm

Been a long time since I haven't posted to the board, been busy with alot of things but I always find time to watched some movies but always forgot to post my thoughts in the forum.

I have the same thought with hengcs with the movie A Bittersweet Life and the philosophy it presented in the opening and at the end credit gave a lasting moment for me and made me think.

3-Iron is one of my favorite movie, and one of the three movies (the godfather, when I realised corleone's first wife is going to die; the second is citizen kane) that has emotionally moved me to react like it's really happening (the end scene when the woman says "i love you").

Kim Ki-Duk's early film is much the same in theme with his works today but there are more dialogue and more scene explaining the story as evident in his movie such as Wild Animals and Bidcage Inn.

Kim Ki-Duk's movie I've seen:

1. 3-Iron
2. The Bow
3. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter....And Spring
4. The Coast Guard
5. Samaria
6. Bad Guy
7. Birdcage Inn
8. Wild Animals

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:16 am

Hi nate, you've seen a few I haven't including The Bow, I guess you must have enjoyed it. You haven't seen The Isle yet, I wonder how you would rate it compared to his others.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby nate » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:05 pm

Hi trev,

I missed The Isle when it was shown in Cinemanila last year, hope someone could lend me a copy since I'm very anxious to see that film.

The Bow for me seems to fall flat against Kim Ki-Duk's other film, for me the lack of dialogue The Bow didn't worked out as much of his other films do but I would still recommend it, the visuals are breath-taking and will instill into your mind like a vivid dream.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:48 pm

Thank's hengcs and nate for the comments on "A Bittersweet Life" I was surprised to find out that it has a general theatrical release in the UK and will try and catch it. It's only a shame that once again only the films that feature a lot of violence get this type of release but I guess it's the only type that's likely to draw the public.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:41 pm

Since hengcs has already commented on the film and there's little if any difference of opinion, I'll just add a few notes.

As with Japanese film Ping Pong you follow two competitors knowing that they are bound to clash in the finale, the difference is with Ping Pong, there is really only one competitor to back, only one who hit rock bottom to rise from the ashes also the stories of both players are very much connected. Crying Fist does a good job of giving you two fighters whose stories never intersect until the final, both hit lows in very different ways and both manage to drag themselves out of the gutter whether as a matter of pride or redemption.

It's unusual to have two underdogs as central characters but the time is split well covering both stories, shifting from one to the other with ease.

Good editing, grainy camerwork, convincing acting (could Choi Min-sik have had such a great career in Hollywood? With his looks and stature, I don't think so!) a mainstream plot but one that is well executed.

All in all an entertaining film that's certainly worth a rental especially if you're into boxing films.

One thing that I found very different especially from Hollywood films of a similar nature (Rocky is the prime example of course) was the soundtrack which was at times bizarre but at least, thankfully it didn't contain any banal rock anthems like "Eye of the Tiger".

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

R2 Pal dvd available from Premier Asia.


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