Seen in Jeonju

Archive for June, 2010

DVD (and Blue Ray) Releases: June 13-19

14th June 2010

hello stranger

GIJOOKIJI MARA– ‘Human Theater’ is one of the longest running documentaries in Korea. It debuted in 2001 and continues to this day airing 30 minute episodes Monday thru Friday. Each week, the show follows one person/family as they go through their daily lives. Usually this person is quite poor or facing many challenges but are often, but the end of the week, very uplifting. Sometimes the stories are quite interesting–I watched one week when it focused on former child star Lee Seung-hyeon (Yalgae: A Joker In High School–and many other movies of the 70s)–that one was not uplifting–they guy has not been doing very well since he got older. He might be an interesting person to do an article on….   Anyway, this DVD is an episode which KBS claims is the best of Human Theater. The specifics are:  Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: All Ages/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/Format: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen/ Region Code: All Regions/ Price: 19,800/ Release Date: June 15

Also pictued above is HELLO, STRANGER– An independent film released last year, Hello Stranger is the story of a North Korean refuge who finishes his orientation to South Korean life at a training institute and is relocated to Seoul where he promptly gets lost. He is helped by a taxi driver who is also a refugee. The next day he finds that he has the opportunity to return the favor and help someone else when he meets an illegal immigrant for Vietnam on a bus to Busan. The Vietnamese man is looking for his girlfriend in Buan but got on the wrong bus. The dvd is released as a single disk. Subtitles: Korean, English/ Rating: ages 12+/ Audi: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Format: 16:9 letterbox widescreen/ Region Code: All Regions/ Price: 19,800/ Release Date: June 15.  I will definitley be ordering this one.

thirst br

THIRST <Blue Ray>–The dvd of Thirst was released months ago. The Blue Ray version has Korean and English subtitles, rated for ages 18 plus, has Audio of 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and is formated in 1080P HD/2.35:1 AVC.  The recommended price will be 33,000KRW

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Index of 1971: 46-60

9th June 2010

Here are the next 15 films released in Korea in 1971.  Click the thumbnail to view the image. You can also access the films by director thru the tab at the top of the page marked ‘Movies of the 70s’– One movie of note here is 1971-56, The Black Sun of Jijiharu, which may be Korea’s first 3-D film predating APE by 5 years.

1971-46, 1971-47, 1971-48, 1971-49, 1971-50, 1971-51, 1971-52, 1971-53, 1971-54, 1971-55, 1971-56, 1971-57, 1971-58, 1971-59, 1971-60

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Korean Box Office: June 4-June 6

7th June 2010


I’ll post what is being released in theaters this week tomorrow on this page… right now I really have to start correcting some of these exams…

Edit: It is now tomorrow and I have posted this week’s new releases below. We have the summer’s first horror films coming with Halloween 2 and Gwi opening. Gwi doesn’t have an English title yet… Speaking of titles, Karate Kid is opening as well under the name Best Kid.  This was the title that the original Karate Kid series opened under in Korea.   I don’t feel that any of these new films are strong contenders for number 1 and I suspect that The Servant will continue to hold the top spot next week.


1. A-Team (us)– d. Joe Carnahan, starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper

2. Blood & Chocolate (us)–d. Katia von Garnier, starring Agnes Brucker, Hugh Dancy

3. Gwi (kr)– d. Kim Jo Gwang-soo,Yeo Myeong-joon, Hong Dong-myeong, starring Shin Ji-soo, Kim Ggot-bi  <no English title yet but the Korean title translates as simply ‘Ghost’>

4. Halloween 2 (us)– d. Rob Zombie, starring Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton

5. Karate Kid (us)– d. Harold Zwart, starring Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan

6. Lego (us)– d. Howard Baker, starring Ryan Mcparthin, Yvonne Straholvski

7. Sex In the City 2 (us)– d. Michael King, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall

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Neighbor Zombie (2009)

6th June 2010

lposter041717-k1Back in February, I was disappointed when the movie Neighbor Zombie failed to open in Jeonju. I had been looking forward to it. It is not often that Korean directors tackle the sub-genre of zombie films. The trailers of this movie made it look like a mixture of comedy and horror as Seoul dealt with a zombie plague. It sounded interesting to me even though this topic has been filmed frequently since the classic Night of the Living Dead. Trailers also showed the zombies as the modern, fast moving, shouting type ala 28 Days Later or the remakes of the Living Dead films. I was not really looking forward to that. I prefer my zombies slow moving and groaning. Maybe they are not as dangerous, but as a child watching those movies on tv, I was terrified by the inexorable doom inching closer and closer–and  I think a good horror movie is able to build slowly on the feeling in terror instead of relying on things suddenly jumping out at the viewer.  BUT as it turns out, I would be disappointed again.  Neighbor Zombie is not actually a horror movie at all.  Instead, it deals with social problems using zombies as metaphors.  Issues dealt with in the film include Alzheimers vs Filial Duty, Ex-Convicts re-entering society, agrophobia and so on for a total of 6 short stories contributed by 4 directors.

The best of these, in my opinion is the story of a young woman who is taking care of her mother aged mother suffering from zombism although it is clearly meant to represent Alzheimers. The zombie-mother does not usually recognize her daughter and would probably devour her if she could. The daughter keeps the mother securely chained and supplies fresh meat paste to her through a bottle made from her own fingers–until a policeman assigned to killing zombies comes to her door and throws a wrench in the whole process.

The other one I liked took place after a cure was found. The former zombies live with nightmare like memories of what they had done when they were attacking and eating people. Their skin is still scarred and pale, so they are easy to recognize as former zombies and as such find themselves unable to get jobs.  The also have to deal with people hating them for what they had done against their will.  It is an interesting idea that I had not seen dealt with in any zombie film that had attempted to cure its zombies and return their humanity.

But on the whole, I did not like the collection.  For one thing, the zombies were not consistant.  In one episode, the zombies are raving animals willing to eat their own feet while in another they are shown as talking, be able to use the phone and having the will to resist their flesh cravings. The other big problem was budget.  I do not mind low-budget films–I do not need flashy special effects. But the effort by the make-up people was lackluster and …well…pitiful.  White powder does not make a zombie—or if you are going to make someone’s face pale, make sure you take into account the neck as well.  

Neighbor Zombie is not yet on DVD.  If you are looking for a horror film, avoid it. If you are looking for a social commentary film, there are better ones available though you might enjoy the unique narrative style zombies bring to social issues.

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DVD Releases: June 6-12

6th June 2010

This coming week will see the end of this semester. I will have given all my exams by Tuesday and will be able to spend more time on this site.  This week also has many interesting DVDs being released.  Among them is ACTRESSES which I reported being released a couple of weeks ago.  That helps serve as a reminder that the release information given here is subject to change. Also remember that the prices shown here are the suggested prices–it is very likely that you can find them for less.


CHOONO–A recent drama starring Jang Hyeok, Lee Da-hae, Oh Ji-ho, and Lee Jong-hyeok, and one of the few dramas aired in the past couple of years that I have watched all the way through, Choono is now being released as a 9-disk ’Premium Box Set’.  Subtitles:  English / Rated: Ages 15+ / Format: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen/ Sound: Dolby Digital Surround/ Code:  All Region/ Special Features: Choono History, Commentary by actors, director & writer/Interviews/ Filming/ 50p Story Book/ Recommended Price: 99,000 KRW/ Release Date: June 8

secret reunion

SECRET REUNION– One of the best films opening so far in 2010, Secret Reunion stars Song Kang-ho and Kang Dong-won. This DVD release is on 2-disks and can be purchased individually or together with the movie MSubtitles: Korean & English/ Rated: 15+ / Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 surround/ Code: Region 3/ Recommended Price: 23,100 KRW (25,300 KRW if purchased with M) / Release Date: June 8.  The promotional material I have seen fails to mention what is on the second disk so I cannot report on it here.

wedding dressWEDDING DRESS–Starring Song Yoon-ah, Kim Hyang-gi.  Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: All Ages/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 surround/ Special Features: Commentary by Director Kwon Hyeong-jin, Producer Choi Seon-joong, Actors Song Yoon-ah and Kim Hyang-gi, Making, Deleted Scenes, Music Video by K.Will ‘Pond of Tears’, Trailer/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Release Date: June 8

visitorsVISITORS– Three featurettes by Directors Hong Sang-soo (Korea), Naomi Kawase (Japan) and Lav Diaz (Philippines).  The Hong film on this single disk DVD is Lost in the Mountains Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Code: Region 3/ Special Features: Butterflies Have No Memory (Diaz’s film)–Director’s Cut/ Q & A with Hong Sang-soo/ trailer/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Release Date: June 9

pistol bandit gangPISTOL BANDIT GANG–  Wasn’t this still in theaters just a couple of weeks ago?  It did fairly well too and hung on for several weeks. It will now be available as a two-disk set. The movie stars Na Moon-hee, Kim Soo-mi, Lee Hye-ok, and Im Chang-jeong. Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: Ages 15+ / Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (disk 2: 4:3 full screen)/ Sound: 5.1 Dolby surround (disk 2: Korean 2.0)/ Code: Region 3/ Special Features: Production, Character Descriptions, Poster Shoot, Preview, Teasers, Trailer/ Recommend Price: 25,300 KRW/ Release Date: June 9

man next doorTHE MAN NEXT DOOR– Another film that was quite recently in theaters, this one starring Yoon Je-moon and Kim In-kwon and directed by Jang Dong-hong. Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: 18+ / Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Code: Region 3/ Recommended Price: 25,300/ Release Date: June 9

city hall

CITY HALL– Another SBS drama is getting released this week. City Hall will be an 11-disk set. The drama starred Kim Seon-ah. Cha Seung-hwan, Choo Sang-mi, Lee Hyeong-cheol.  Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: 15+/ Format: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen/ Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special Features: Each disk from 1-8 contains an interview with a different cast or staff member. Disks 9 and 10 have NGs, making, music videos, etc. Disk 11 is a discussion among the cast and staff after the filming of the final episode/ Recommended Price: 121,000 KRW/ Release Date: June 10.

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Korean Box Office: May 28-30

2nd June 2010


I have been very busy trying to get final exams ready for next week which is why this is a little later than usual.  This week, Prince of Persia lays claim to the top spot, although How to Train Your Dragon still performed quite well.  This week, several new films are opening a day early to take advantage of the fact that most schools and many business are closed due to elections. Among these is the 1960s version of The Housemaid directed by Kim Ki-yeong. Considering that it is available on DVD and was available for a while to view legally for free on the internet, I doubt that many people will see it this time around.  I am more interested in watching The Servant which also is opening on Wednesday.  The other new movies this week are below.

** I just saw that the movie referred to in the chart above as Nae Ggangpae Gateun Aein–a romanization of the Korean title– will be known internationally as My Dear Desperado.


1. Edge of Darkness (us/uk)– Martin Campbell, starring Mel Gibson, Danny Huston

2. Ghost Writer (fr)– d. Roman Polanski, starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan

3. Housemaid (kr)– d. Kim Ki-yeong, starring Lee Yi-shim, Kim Jin-gyu

4. Maradona (sp)– d. Emir Kusturica, starring Diego Maradona, Emir Kusturica <documentary>

5. North Face (ger)– d. Philipp Stolzl, starring Benno Furmann, Florian Lukas

6. Servant (kr)– d. Kim Dae-woo, starring Kim Joo-hyeok, Ryu Seung-beom

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