K-Movie Review / Veteran (베테랑, 2015)

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This is an action and crime film but also includes comedy elements. The protagonist is a police man named Seo Do-cheol, while the antagonist named Jo Tae-oh who is spoiled in a wealthy family. This is a representative gangster film but this time the antagonist is not real gangster, he is rich, bad and crazy. Seo Do-cheol is simple and sort of individualism. To work as a policeman, he always keep a low profile. However, he has to try his best every time during work. He has a good personality which is always bold and upright. This is also one of the highlights of this film – everything is real, based on our life. Everyone has family, this is an obvious clue through the whole film. Like the protagonist, he needs to work for his family, the tuition fee for his son and also the house loan. The Chauffeur Bae is struggle with getting the salary back to support his family. Even the antagonist, his father also wants to do something to save his son. Another big highlight is the comedy elements. Much of the action and crime scenes are along with gags and self-mockery. This is quite unique in a gangster film. All these kind of settings can make the audience feel something different. Furthermore, the editing of this film is good which makes it a fast pace film and bring audience tension. Both the protagonist and antagonist perform perfect. Veteran is a good film which can be watched during Korean Film Festival.

-Xinyi

K-Movie Review / Inside Men (2015, 내부자들)

145207749735de37_oInside Men is a political thriller movie that involves people at the top; as greedy as they could, using their power and social status to reach the top and covering up their dirty work. Within its genre it involves high level corruption, sexual and brilliantly brutal scenes.

This movie started off with Lee Byung Hoon announcing his revenge towards the Mirae Motors company (its secret flush), then the movie went back to the past of his involvement with the people he worked with and why he wanted a revenge.

The beginning of the movie was a bit difficult to understand as it was not presented linearly (non-linear). Things started to get clearer as it progressed. It shows more of motivation and character background. I would say the movie production is a top-notch.

With its lead actor Lee Byung Hoon, accompanied alongside amazing actors Baek Yoon Sik and Cho Seung Woo, the director Ho Min Woo indeed casted the best of actors to be part of this brilliantly brutal and intense movie.

Like always, we are not spoiling the ending and you will not want to miss the ending!

Also, Inside Men actually has two versions, one in 3 hour run time and another is 2 hour. After watching the ending, I think I may try to watch the 3 hour version! The 2 hour version of Inside Men is the one being shown in Korean Film Festival.

-Fenty

K-Movie Review / Alice in Earnestland (2015,성실한 나라의 앨리스)

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The movie Alice in Earnestland was shown in Korean Film Festival in Australia 2016 and Sydney Film Festival 2016. If you are curious about this particular movie, you could still watch it in Brisbane or Melbourne; if you are around the area!

First of all, I have come across black comedy as a genre but I think I have never gotten myself to watch one until now. So according to the dictionary of Cambridge, black comedy is “a film, play, etc. that looks at the funny side of things that we usually consider to be very serious, like death and illness”. So, I might not be the best person to say my opinion on this genre because I am totally new to it.

The plot of the story is not tough to understand, I would honestly say that the movie with black comedy genre is indeed difficult to pull off. Not only that, the story itself created the black comedy theme, but the way the movie is presented has its humor in it; tough to notice as I am new to this thing.

Despite the word comedy in the genre, the genre was hard for me to laugh at. Again this genre is new to me. You might get to like the comedy involved if you enjoyed other black comedy genre. It is more of a life journey genre for me as Soo Nam (Lee Jung Hyun, a singer-actor) fights her way life through so many challenges ahead of her. I found the definition of the genre after watching the movie which was why I did not realize it was meant to involve humor in it.

The comedy in this movie can be seen from the way the movie was shot and obviously some of the background music; identifies itself as less serious in some ways. But then, at the climax of the movie, the movie turned pretty violent and even brutal to watch when something drove her to kill someone. So, keep in mind that it might be hard to watch.

If you are curious about Lee Jung Hyun, as I mentioned earlier she is a singer-actor. She was famous for her song called “Wa” in 2000.

And so, I think it is a great movie to watch, especially if you are new to a black comedy movie, you might as well try this one!

-Fenty

K-Movie Review / Office (2015,오피스)

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This is obviously a thriller and horror film; however, it is also a meaningful film which may relate to everyone’s daily life.  At the beginning of the film, there are a lot of scenes which describe clerks’ everyday working life. They sit or stand in the super crowded subway, they look tired and lack of motivation. Actually, this is what happened in our daily life.

The main character Section Chief Kim Byeong-Gook is the main source of support for his family. His elder mother , domesticated wife and disabled son makes him carry the heavy load of his family. The same as Lee Mi-Rye, as an internee, she works hard for almost half years but she is not able to become a full-time worker. Then she becomes psycho. They are similar and both of them choose to vent their pressure by extremes. In the end of the film, Lee Mi-Rye decides to return to work. Is this choice right? Will all the things happen again? I think if the problem cannot be solved properly, the tragedy will repeat again.

The work already has permeated our family, our private life and even our mind. People are always busy with their work but ignore some important things. The same working places, same colleagues, and same routine of work every day make our life dull and stressful. However, people keep thinking about to explode their the pressure by means and extremes.  Actually, we should put more emphasis on how to deal with the working life properly. Do we need to spend more time with our family, do some mental regulation or just have a break? The film brings us an important question – Work to live or live to work? This also draws more attention in nowadays society.

-Seyi

K-Movie Review / Right Now, Wrong Then (2015,지금은맞고그때는틀리다)

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The movie Right Now, Wrong Then is directed by Hong Sang Soo and led by two main actors Jung Jae Young, who play as Ham Chun Soo and Kim Min Hee as Yoon Hee Jung.

The first thing I notice about the movie is it involves conversations which is plain, awkward, regular conversations we could have possibly have with friends, colleagues or strangers. I am a fan of movies and dramas and they vary from Asian, Hollywood etc. However, the scenes and conversations are not ‘fake’. The reason why I am using ‘fake’ is that conversations in dramas and movies are exaggerated most of the times. Most dramas and movies have funny and interesting conversations are to keep the audience engaged with what is going on! Obviously, I would stop watching a movie if I found it boring. That’s normal to do. I found that the concept of this movie is ‘different’.

Being different is not necessarily bad. The uniqueness that I found is that there is very little background music involved. The camera shoots from a distant (for each scene there was only ONE camera). But if you notice when watching other movies, there are close-ups from different directions, shoots from far, low, above etc; they involve many cuts and takes. In this movie the camera involved is only one per scene; involving zoom in and out, moving the camera left and right which is very Hong Sang-soo style.

Also there are many directors and writers who try to avoid voice-over (narration) in this movies because many people are not a fan of it. There is not a lot of voice-over which is good enough for me; as when voice-over is used it has to be really captivating or else it will be slightly boring.

What I take from watching this movie is I think the director is trying to convey certain message of a relationship by taking a few steps back and capture the emotions despite noticing the two main actors failing to connect.

Watching the movie as a movie fan is quite different to understanding why is the movie shot this way. I believe to be able to fully appreciate the movie (contents and production) I personally think I have to be more educated in film making hence the message conveyed would be easier to perceive.

I found it interests when the movie reaches it half running time that the title actually changes from Right Then, Wrong Now to Right Now, Wrong Then. Also it is a matter of choices in the two separate parts of the movie that make the story changes. What if the actors were given the choice to change certain things which had taken place. It works the same with the audience, what if we were given the option to choose which story we would prefer.

Well, it’s the first time I watch a movie where I could choose which plot I prefer more and I choose the second half.

-Fenty

K-Movie Review / The Throne (사도, 2015)

 

http-%2F%2Fmovie.phinf.naver.net%2F20150714_160%2F1436843698976fFJib_JPEG%2Fmovie_imageThe movie The Throne is a historical movie based on a true story directed by Lee Jun Ik. The main actors in the movie is Song Kang Ho (acted as King Yeong Jo) and Yoo Ah In (Crown Prince Sado).

This movie starts off just like a climax in a movie and then it moves on to the past stories. I think if you are a fan of Korean history, this movie is a great one despite a tragedy ending; which is a little obvious as you start to watch the first 10 minutes of the movie and it gives you hints of a higher possibility of its tragic ending.

Again, for those who have already known the history of Joseon Dynasty period, it would have been easy to understand the relationships among a lot of the casts involved in the movie. Furthermore, the movie does not mention the most of casts involved in the movie. So, to help the audience to further understand the story a little more, a better understanding of who was King Yeon Jo (appointed as a Crown Prince in 1721). He was the twenty first ruler of Joseon Dynasty; the second son of King Sukjong and Queen Kim Im won.

The movie showes that King Yeong Jo kept his distance with Crown Prince Sado and it is because he wants to raise him a future king. However, what made their relationship so much more difficult is in fact Crown Prince Sado has no interest in studying which upset the King even more. Crown Prince Sado is always put under so much pressure; due to King Yeon Jo’s frequent scoldings and leading Crown Prince Sado to fear his father even more; eventually, he has a mental illness which seems like hallucination.

The Throne which is based on a true story managed to vividly expresses the father and son relationship they have. I think it is so heartbreaking to watch.

While I am watching the movie, as I mentioned there are so many characters involved but it is not mentioned who they are. I had pretty much to assume a few ladies were concubines of King Yeong Jo and maybe relatives of possibly anyone in the castle. However, the movie which I believed wanted the audience to focus on the father and son relationship clearly convey its message.

-Fenty

K-Movie Review / Collective Invention (돌연변이, 2015)

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Collective Invention which previously known as The Mutant is a black comedy genre with a portrayal of the Korean society.

The review would not include any of the story lines and it will be based on the whole general thought of the movie. The story is about Park Gu whose upper-body turns into a fish and his journey to find a way to gets his human body back to normal.

As the movie goes along, everyone who offers their helps for Park has their own ulterior motives which something normal to happen in daily lives.

These quotes below are taken from this website, check it out to know more! If you have not watched it did talked about some of the stories: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2016/05/141_189413.html

I got curious to why the director or the writer decided on a mutant fish. Obviously, there are so many other animals that he could think of. So, the director, Oh Kwang Kwon mentioned that he was inspired by Rene Magritte’s 1934 painting of half-fish, half-man character. He added in a press preview in Seoul on Oct 14 that “I thought that this mismatch can explain the feeling of helplessness of the younger generations.”

In fact, there are many people who come across this movie because of Lee Kwang Soo. And so, what has he got to say in taking this unique role?? He mentioned that he really enjoyed the screenplay and he took the role as he could empathize with the character. He also added “The fact that my face rarely appears in the scenes made me long to do this film. I thought I am never going to have a role like this again.”

At the certain moment, I was a bit disappointed because the movie had ended. However, it gave me a big smile because the ending was unexpected but beautiful.

This movie actually has a lot more to say and weather you have watched the movie or you have not, I wonder whether you have this question lingering in your head “Why he decided to do in the end?”

-Fenty