Seen in Jeonju

Archive for November, 2010

Twist Kim passes away

30th November 2010

twist kimIt’s not often that I have time to post during the week when the semester is coming to an end, but I felt that this was important enough for me to take time off from other work to mention. Twist Kim, a staple character actor of the sixties and early 70s passed away today at the age of 74. The cause of death was a stroke.  Twist Kim was born Kim Han-seob in 1936 in the southern city of Busan. He debuted in 1962 in a small role in the film The Man From Tokyo.  Two years later, he was paired with Shin Seong-il in the classic film Barefoot Youth and was launched to stardom. His career wound down about a decade later, although he made sporadic appearances in movies up until 1999 and starred in a short film Dancing Cop, Twist Kim in 2001. 

Twist Kim earned his nickname because of his skill at dancing the twist which he displays in several of his movies. Kim was able to easily switch between playing a tough, lowlife to lovable comic-relief characters. Although I recently complained about his comedy style in the film Father and Sons (his ‘eye-dancing’ scenes were really not funny), I loved the way he acted in films like Barefoot Youth and Early Rain.

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Korean Box Office: Nov. 26-28

29th November 2010



1. Dancing Zoo (kr)– d. Kim Hyo-jeong, Park Seong-yong, starring Han Hee-jeong, Mon Goo

2. Flying Butterfly (kr)– d. Jeong Heum-moon, starring Yoon Do-yeon, Park Tae-hee <documentary>

3. Last Exorcism (us)– d. Daniel Stamm, starring Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell

4. JjeJjehan Romance (kr)– d. Kim Jeong-hoon, starring Lee Seon-gyun, Choi Kang-hee

5. Naruto 4 (jp)– d. Masahiko Murata, voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue, Toshiyuki Morikawa

6. Outrage (jp)– d. Takeshi Kitano, starring Takeshi Kitano, Ryu Kase

7. Switch (us)– d. Will Speck, starring Jennifer Anniston, Jason Bateman

8. Toilet (jp)– d. Naoko Ogigami, starring Masako Motai, Alex House

9. Warrior’s Way (us)– d. Lee Seung-moo, starring Jang Dong-geon, Kate Bosworth

10. What More Do I Want? (it)– d. Silvio Soldini, starring Pierfrancesco Favino, Alba Rohrwacher

11. Yeouido (kr)– d. Song Jeong-woo, starring Kim Tae-woo, Park Seong-woong

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Fight at Hong Kong Ranch (1980)

27th November 2010

golden dragon silver snakeA few weeks ago, I ordered a few films by director Kim Shi-hyeon that I had found on a DVD site based in Hong Kong. These films are not available on DVD in Korea and I thought it would be a good chance to learn about a stage of Korean film history that I know woefully little about– The Hong Kong co-productions and especially the action ‘kung-fu’ films. In the mid-late seventies, Hong Kong cinema was king and enjoying popularity around the world. Korea was also taken with the action films coming out of its southern neighbor. Movies like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon and Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master were very influential and are still remembered fondly–In fact, Drunken Master 2 was on television earlier today (no, I didn’t watch it).  Running into trouble with the government, master director Shin Sang-ok relocated his company, Shin Productions, to Hong Kong and many other directors and actors saw the chance to work in Hong Kong.  Dozens of films were made of varying quality and stars were born like the Bruce Lee look-alike Geo Ryong aka Dragon Bruce Lee aka Moon Geo-ryong. Geo Ryong gained quite a bit of fame and his career is easy to track.  But the fact that these films and the actors in them are listed under so many different names, researching them is quite a chore.

The DVDs I bought are dubbed in English, no sign of the orginial language and, worse, no sign of the original credits. One of the movies I bought called itself Angry Dragon–also starring Geo Ryong and directed by Kim Shi-hyeon. However, a search through the Korean Film Database revealed no such title. Fortunately, there are ways of tracking it down — reviewing stills and posters is invaluable. I learned along the way that Angry Dragon was also called in Hong Kong The Angry Man vs the Five Brothers, Five Brothers and, is listed under the English title Five Disciples in the Korean Film Database.  Oddly, the original poster for this movie does list an English title among the Korean and Chinese characters. It was to be called The Five Brothers. I do not know why the title was not used consistently.

A bigger problem comes when trying to understand the credits to these movies. And, for the most part, it is a hopeless task. Random English names are assigned in the credits.  I did learn a few things.  Popular 80s actor Lee Dae-geun went at some point under the name Master Lee!  Veteran actors Nam Goong-hoon and Shin Il-ryong in some Honk Kong films were listed as James Nam and Shin I-lung respectively.  These were easy to figure out because I have seen enough of the actors to recognize them.  But most I have no clue.  In Fight at Hong Kong Ranch  (KMDB name… the DVD I ordered from Hong Kong calls it Golden Dragon, Silver Snake) the credits include Dragon Lee, Johnnie Chan (!) and Edward Lee.  Who?  I have no idea.  Maybe given time I could eventually sort everything out, but I doubt it.  Johnnie Chan obviously was playing the Jackie Chan clone, but what was his real name. I don’t even know if he was Korean or from Hong Kong. Edward Lee? I have no idea. The actor names are not paired with a character so I do not know who played whom. The KMDB is no help in this matter. It lists five names associated with this movie and three of them have the family name Lee. Tracking down images of the actors would tell me who they played, but it would not help with the English names that comprise the credits.

So how was Fight at Hong Kong Ranch? Well, I have to admit I enjoyed it. Oh–the translation of the original dialogue and the dubbing are absolutely horrible- the English voices in no way match the characters and I had the impression that there was probably a limite number of voice actors available…some people sound remarkably similar. Also, the two main actors are not even attempting to disguise the fact that they are imitations of two much better known martial artists. The Jackie Chan mimic is dressed to look like the main character in Drunken Master and even given his own crazy old man to teach him Kung Fu. Dragon Lee/Geo Ryong bears more than a passing resemblance to Bruce Lee and demonstrates some excellent martial arts skills but the yellow track suit might have been a little too much. The whole film could come across as just a cheesy, unintentional parody of the genre. However, for some reason it works and there are times that both of the main actors look exactly like the people they are imitating and you forget you are not watching the real thing.

The plot was simple…very, very simple. Thugs, running a protection racket, attempt to force a nearby ranch owner to sell and murder a charasmatic young man who attempts to organize the local merchants to resist the gangsters. The dead man’s brother comes to town out for revenge and winds up getting a job at the ranch. Meanwhile, the milkman who also works on the ranch, meets a rickshaw driver who promises to teach him how to fight in order to protect himself and the ranch owners from the criminals. The movie has lots of action–some of it quite bizarre. Eggs, baseballs, cordless drills and cats are used as weapons. There are evil motor cycle gangs, pool-side parties and a damsal in distress. Was there deep meaning? No. But was there fun? Yes.

After watching this film, I understand a little more why the genre was popular and I look forward to seeing the other two I bought… but not just yet. I have the feeling that my opinion might change if I watch too many kung-fu films at one time. They are fun, though…

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DVD Releases: November 28-December 4

27th November 2010

This coming week sees one tv-drama and four indie films released on DVD this week. The information on them is written below the image.  Oh–and MOSS will be released onto Blu-Ray.  The DVD of that film was released earlier in November. It will go for 33,000 KRW.


JANGNANSEUREOM KISS– Don’t have an English name on this drama although its homepage address is simply ‘kiss’.  It stars Kim Hyeon-joong, Jeong So-min, Lee Tae-seong and Hong Yoon-hwa.  Number of discs: 6/ Subtitles: English/ Format: 16:9 full screen/ Audio: Dolby 2.0/ Special Features: Intro to Production, Poster shoot, Making, Photo Gallery/ Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 88,000 KRW/ Available: November 29

NEIGHBOR ZOMBIE– Starring Bae Yong-geun, Hong Yeong-geun, Ha Eun-jeong and Kim Hee-chang. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special Features: Trailer/ Region Code: 3/ Recommended Price: 19,800 KRW/ Available: November 30

NINETEEN– Starring Heo Yi-jae and two Big Bang members; Seung-ri and Choi Seung-hyeong (T.O.P)– who recently won several presitgious awards for his role in 71:Into the Fire. Nineteen was made before that big-budget film was shot. It might be interesting to see how he did. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: Ages 12+/ Format: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Special Features: Trailer/ Recommended Price: 23,500 KRW/ Available: December 2

RELATION OF FACE, MIND AND LOVE– Starring Lee Ji-ah and Kang Ji-hwan  Number of dics: 1/ Subtitles: Korean & English/  Rating: Ages 12+/ Format: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Special Features: Trailer/ Recomendded Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: December 2

POSTMAN TO HEAVEN– Starring Yeongwoong Jae-jeong, Han Hyo-joo.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: All ages/ Format: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Special Feature: Trailer/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: December 2

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31st Blue Dragon Film Awards

26th November 2010

secret reunionThe 31st Blue Dragon Film Awards was held earlier tonight. The results are as follows:   BEST FILM:  Secret Reunion (pictured right)*****  BEST DIRECTOR: Kang Woo-seok (Moss)*****  BEST ACTOR:  Jeong Jae-yeong (Moss)*****  BEST ACTRESS: <tie> Yoon Jeong-hee (Poetry) & Soo Ae (Midnight FM)*****  BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Yoo Hae-jin (Moss)*****  BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Yoon Yeo-jeong (Housemaid)*****   BEST NEW ACTOR: Choi Seung-hyeon/T.O.P (71: Into the Fire)***** BEST NEW ACTRESS: Lee Min-jeong (Cyrano Agency)*****  BEST NEW DIRECTOR: Kim Kwang-shik (My Dear Desperado)***** BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lee Mo-ge (I Saw the Devil) *****  BEST LIGHTING: Oh Seung-cheol (I Saw the Devil)*****  BEST EFFECTS: Park Jeong-ryul (fight co-ordinator- Man From Nowhere)*****  BEST MUSIC: Mok (I Saw the Devil)*****  BEST ART DIRECTOR: Lee Ha-joon (Housemaid)*****  BEST SCREENWRITER: Kim Hyeon-seok (Cyrano Agency)*****  MOST POPULAR PERFORMERS: Won Bin, Son Ye-jin, Choi Seung-hyeon/T.O.P, Jo Ye-jeong

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Index of 1972: 91-105

26th November 2010

Here are the next fifteen films produced in Korea in 1972. Click the thumbnail to see the full image and information about the film. You can find other films from this decade by director by clicking the tab at the top of the page marked ‘Movies of the 70s’. Enjoy

72-091, 72-092, 72-093, 72-094, 72-095, 72-096, 72-097, 72-098, 72-099, 72-100, 72-101, 72-102, 72-103, 72-104, 72-105

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Korean Box Office: Nov. 19-21

22nd November 2010


Choin’s super-powered action kept this film safely at the top of the box office charts for a second week in a row, taking in more than a third of the ticket sales over the weekend. It’s closest runner up depended on where you live–either Social Network or the Unjust. The Korean film whose title translates as ‘Two Women’ was assigned an English name last week and is now being called Love In Between. It opened at a disappointing 8th though the other new Korean film, Festival, fared much better. This week sees the remake of the Manchu opening as well as actress Song Hye-gyo in an Amercian film, Fetish (although I don’t imagine that it will get much screen time), Song Seung-heon in a Japanese remake of Patrick Swayze’s Ghost and the return of Kim Hae-soo and Han Seok-gyu. Information on these and the other new films being released this week appears below…


1. Concert (fr/it)– d. Radu Milhaileanu, starring Aleksey Guskov, Melanie Laurent

2. Due Date (us)– d. Todd Phillips, starring Robert Downey Jr., Azch Galifianakis

3. Fetish (us)– d. Soopum Sohn, starring Song Hye-gyo, Arno Frisch

4. Ghost (jp)– d. Tarou Ohtani, starring Song Seung-heon, Nanako Maisushima

5. Heartbeats (ca)– dXavier Dolan, starring Monica Cokri, Niels Schneider

6. Icheunui Akdang (kr)– d. Son Jae-gon, starring Kim Hae-soo, Han Seok-gyu

7. Manchu (kr)– d. Kim Tae-yong, starring Hyeon Bin, Wei Tang

8. Skyline (us)– d. Greg Strause, starring Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson

9. There’s to My Misfortune (kr)– d. Han Sang-min, starring Bae Jae-ki, Jeong Jae-shik

10. Woori Mannan Jeok Itnayo (kr)– d. Im Jin-pyeong, starring Park Jae-jeong, Yoon So-yi

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Father and Sons (1969)

21st November 2010

father and sonsThese past few weeks have been quite busy forobuja me.  School is winding down–just one month left and that last month always goes by too quickly!  I have a lot to do before it finishes. I have been watching movies, but I haven’t had time to write much about them. I don’t actually have time now as I write this. I can think of several other things that take priority. But I don’t expect it will take too long to write this review of Father and Sons.  There are no deep hidden meanings to explore and I don’t have to choose my words carefully to avoid spoilers. The film is not on DVD and is probably not on anyone’s list of classic films that should be DVD. It is a comedy which relies heavily on slapstick and is a remake of director Kwon Yeong-soon’s 1958 film of the same name (???). The poster of the orignal movie is pictured above right while the remake, and the topic of today’s post, is on the left. 

The two films share more than a title in common. They share the talents of actor Kim Hee-gab. In the original work, Kim is one of the sons (seated on the far right of the poster with a guitar). In the remake, he plays the father, Mr. Park. The story outlines of these two movies are exactly the same. In brief, it is the story of a family with four sons who are well past the age of marriage but seem unable or unwilling to stop acting likc adolescents and settle down. It is not as if they could not support themselves. The eldest son, Yeong (Hyeon Yang) is a barber. Woong (Seo Yeong-choon) is a taxi driver. Ho (Twist Kim) owns a record shop and Geol (Nam Bo-won) is the leader of a band in a nightclub. They make pretty good money which they turn over to their father in order to be allowed to stay. The father in turn, reluctantly gives the money to his wife (Hwang Jeong-soon) to save for their son’s future.

Park tells his sons the story of his courtship with their mother –which involved him threatening to commit suicide in front of his future father-in-law until the latter allowed him to marry his daughter– in the hopes that this will prod his lazy sons into finding wives. Most of the 84 minutes of running time that comprise this film is made up of the sons meeting various women and figuring out the correct way to win them over. For example, Ho keeps serenading his love interest outside her window but is thwarted from making headway by her protective father..until he learns that singing Italian opera may be the key to success. Woong faces down a gangster with a knife while protecting the virtue of a female customer in his cab and earns her respect. Eventually all the sons are paired off and the film can have a happy ending.

Besides just being a comedy, Father and Sons is also a musical. Characters are often singing jaunty tunes that were popular at that time. But herein lies one of the movie’s biggest flaws. Anyone who has watched films from that period knows that the movies were dubbed after filming. If there was an adequate budget, the dubbing might be fair. But most films made at this time were under heavy budget constraints. This lack is very obvious in this movie. The characters ’sing’ in voices that are clearly not theirs accompanied by instruments that are not present. When there are instruments on set, it is painful to watch as the actors mimic playing them with know knowledge of how to use them. Twist Kim was a bit of a disappointment in this film as well. I like him in other, more serious movies where his comic relief  and brief cuts of him dancing are welcome. But here, the welcome is overstayed.

Father and Sons (1969) was directed by Kwon Cheol-hwi, a man who graduated with a major in Law but who spent most of his adult life directing and writing movies. You may know him from his horror film, A Public Cemetary of Wolha, which is available on DVD with English subtitles. I had just rewatched that movie last week as well. I just don’t have time right now to write about it… I will just have to see it again at a later date.

Posted in 1960s, Review | 2 Comments »

New DVD Releases: November 21-27

20th November 2010

Three independent films are being released on DVD this coming week. All of these had very limited releases this past summer–no more than 40 screens apiece so unless you live in one of the larger cities, you probably missed them.

tokyo taxi

TOKYO TAXI– Actually a Korean/Japanese co-production directed by Kim Tae-shik. Number of dics: 1/ Subtitles: Korean, English, Japanese & French/ Rating: All Ages/ Format: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special Features: Trailer/ Running Time: 75 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: November 23

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP FOR THE BAD– d. Kwon Yeong-cheol, starring SeoJang-won, Oh Tae-kyeong  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English/ Rating: Ages 18+/ Format: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Special Features: Trailer/ Running Time: 85 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: November 23

JULY 32ND– d. Jin Sang-hyeon, starring Park Eun-soo, Kim Jeong-gyun.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: Ages 18+/ Format: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9/ Audio: Dloby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 100 minutes/ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW,/ Available: November 26

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Index of 1972: 76-90

20th November 2010

Here are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1972. Click the thumbnail to see the full-sized image. You can also see all the films from that decade by clicking the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.

72-076, 72-077, 72-078, 72-079, 72-080, 72-081, 72-082, 72-083, 72-084, 72-085, 72-086, 72-087, 72-088, 72-089, 72-090

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