Seen in Jeonju

Archive for August, 2011

Korean Box Office: August 26-28

29th August 2011


We are down to the last week of August! The new semester here in Jeonju starts this Thursday, August 1.  Some places have already gone back to school, but I still have a few days to enjoy the hot, humid weather…   Well, last week I mentioned that there would not be much change in the upper half of the box office despite no less than a dozen new movies opening. It turned out that I was right. The same six films that were in the top last week, are there again. The only change was that Leafie rose to 4th while the Smurfs slipped to 5th.  No new movies opened higher than the 7th place spot.  Of course, that will change this coming week. Blue Salt is going to make its presence known in a big way.  The other movies being released this week are listed below.


Blue Salt (kr)– d. Lee Hyeon-seung, starring Song Kang-ho, Shin Se-kyeong

Columbiana (us)– d. Olivier Megaton, starring Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan

Dance Town (kr)– d. Jeon Jin-gyu, starring Ra Mi-ran, Oh Seong-tae

Dream Factory (kr)– d. Kim Seong-gyun <documentary>

Elbow Room (kr)– d. Ham Kyeong-rok, starring Park Ji-won, Shin Yeon-sook

Themselves (kr)– d. Yoon Tae-shik, starring Ko Soo-hee, Kim Jin-yi

White Noise 2 (us)– d. Patrick Lussier, starring Nathan Fillion, Katee Sackhoff

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Index of the 1970s: Choi In-hyeon

28th August 2011

Director Choi In-hyeon was born in Jinju, South Gyeongnam Province on October 24, 1928.  He became interested in studying drama while he was in middle school.  When Kim So-dang remade the classic, lost film Arirang in 1957, Choi was given a part. Although it was his only acting part, it got him interested in working in film. In the 60s, he joined Shin Sang-ok’s production company, Shin Films and began making movies.  He made more than 60 films over the years, 29 of them in the 1970s.  By 1979, his career was just about finished.  He made just three more films in the years between 1980 and his death in 1990. The films shown below completes his 1970s filmography. To see the rest of his films– and those of other directors– just click the tab at the top of this page marked ‘The 1970s.’   Click the thumbnails and then enlarge to see a fully legible image.

choiinhyeon 1974 secrethistoryofthelowerclass, choiinhyeon 1975 duelatsorimtemple, choiinhyeon 1975 younglady, choiinhyeon 1976 concentrationofattention, choiinhyeon 1976 honggildong, choiinhyeon 1977 songdedicatedtomywife, choiinhyeon 1978  kingsejong, choiinhyeon 1978 goddessofmercy, choiinhyeon 1978 womaninthefog, choiinhyeon 1979 eternalinheritance

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New DvD Releases: August 28-September 3

27th August 2011

no dvd

There are no Korean movies being released in DVD format this week…. BUT, I did see something interesting on the list of movies becoming available as rentals.  There on the list was Song Il-gon’s 2006 one-cut full-length film The Magicians.  The short version of this movie is available as part of the Jeonju Digital Project Box Set– but this is the theatrical release- the full 96 minute version and when I had seen it years ago, I thought it was far superior to the short version. Usually there is just a few weeks between a film appearing on the rental lists and becoming available for purchase. But looking ahead, I could not see The Magicians on the ‘for purchase’ list.. I am hopeful, however, that it will be added soon.

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The Cat (2011)

25th August 2011

cat posterThis summer, my interest was peaked by the coming of the horror film The Cat and it inspired the post where I looked at some of the feline ghosts in Korean cinema’s past. Then I read some reviews about the film and decided to skip it in the theaters. Yesterday, I saw that it was on Hana TV.  Hana TV has been doing an excellent site of getting films quickly after finishing their theatrical run and I can see them at half the price as I can in the theater. Link and Beast were just released a month ago but Hana TV already has them available on demand! Anyway, this isn’t an ad for Hana TV… this is about The Cat.  My expectations going in were cautiously hopeful…maybe not as high as they were at the beginning of the summer, though. The movie had opened on July 7th and disappeared from theaters by the end of that same month with less than seven hundred thousand tickets sold.  But, regardless of the fact that the film was not a box office smash, I am happy to say that I enjoyed it very much.  It manages to build suspense quite well and maintain it throughout the film.  Too many times I am enjoying a ghost story only to find that once we learn what is motivating the spirit to torment the living, it becomes far less frightening. The Cat does not suffer from this as we do not learn what is driving the ghost until the very end and immediately following the reveal, we are given a satisfying ending.

The main character of the film is a pet store employee and animal lover named So-yeon played by Park Min-yeong.  On the surface, she appears slightly shy–perhaps relating better to animals than people– sensitive and kind-hearted.  The crush she has on her friends ex-boyfried Joon-seok is very well handled and serves to underline her shynes. However, she has a darker side as well.  So-yeon suffers from out of control claustrophobia. Her fear of enclosed places is so severe that she cannot take an elevator or ride the subway. She has even removed the door to her bedroom so she can sleep. The medication and counselling she is receiving does not seem to help. The other secret she is keeping is that her father is shut away in a mental hospital. She does not care to visit him and fears that she may wind up like him.  Her fears may be valid as she begins seeing a terrifying vision of a part cat/part girl that seem anything but benign.  I liked this aspect of the character as it presents a possibilty that the events happening onscreen are all in her head and that she, in fact, could be responsible for the deaths of a number of people who all had recent contact with her.

Little girl ghosts may seem a bit cliche in Asian cinema since Ring, and Phone, and Dark Water but Kim Ye-ron does a good job of keeping her phantom fresh. (Incidently, if you have not seen the original Japanese film of Dark Water directed by Hideo Nakata, do it now! It is nothing like the unfortunate American remake).  The ghost appears to switch back and forth between the forms of a young girl and a domestic cat.  The questions are who is the girl and what is her motive? As it is with real cats, what this ghost girl/cat does is often a mystery that only becomes clear later in the story. Of aspect of her motives is clear immediately– Don’t do anything to harm cats or you will find yourself facing and unforgiving and terrifying visitor.

While there may not be enough to The Cat to elevate it to the levels of horror films like A Tale of Two Sisters or Ring, it is still a competent and satisfying movie– and one of the better Korean horror films released in recent years. Watch for its DVD release!

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Index of the 70s: Choi Hyeon-min

24th August 2011

Choi Hyeon-min was born as Choi Woo-il in South Habkyeong Provine, now part of North Korea.  He moved south for his studies and eventually went on to debut as a stage actor. By 1957, he was directing stage plays and in1959 worked as an assistant director to Jeon Chang-geun.  He started in earnest in the movie industry as a planner in the production departments in the mid-60s and continued in that area until 1991.  His directing career was relatively short, beginning in 1972 and finishing in 1983 during which time he directed just 11 films (The KMDb attributes a 12th film to him, but that is actually a creation by Choi In-hyeon)– Choi In-hyeon films are up next…   Click the thumbnail and enlarge to see the full sized plate and read the information.  All the films of the 1970s I have completed so far can be viewed by clicking the tab at the top of this page marked “the 1970s” where the movies are listed by director.

choihyeonmin 1975 annaswill, choihyeonmin 1976 schooldays, choihyeonmin 1976 threesisters, choihyeonmin 1976 youngcity, choihyeonmin 1977 dreamsofthetwo, choihyeonmin 1977 youth, choihyeonmin 1978 chorusofdoves

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Index of the 70s: Choi Ha-won

23rd August 2011

Choi Ha-won, born Choi Seung-yong on August 19, 1937 and studied Korean Literature at Yeonsae University. He debuted in 1968 with Trees Stand on a Slope and his final film was in 1990, The Military Academy.  During the 1970’s Choi directed 17 films.  I had listed five previously when I was indexing by year, so here are the remaining dozen.  Information  on all his films, and the films of other directors can be viewed by clicking the tab at the top of the page marked ‘the 1970s’. 

choihawon 1974 seagullsdream, choihawon 1975 cattle, choihawon 1975 lastembrace, choihawon 1975 strangefeeling, choihawon 1976 coldheartedrent, choihawon 1976 imustlive, choihawon 1977 studentvolunteerarmy, choihawon 1977 target, choihawon 1978 climax, choihawon 1978 twilight, choihawon 1979 jadecolor, choihawon 1979 picnicfor30days

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Korean Box Office: August 19-21

22nd August 2011


The new film Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon is full of surprises.  Not only did it successfully fend of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes to maintain the number one place in the box office, but it also has already had more viewers than the heavily advertised summer blockbusters Sector 7 and Quick.  Between those three Korean-made films, Sector 3 was the clear loser, plummeting five places this week with two-million-plus viewers. It may just barely reach 2.5 million before closing in theaters.  We are now in the final week of summer and there are many movies opening this coming week to try to get viewers into the theater before they head back to school.  However, looking over them, there is not much there that will cause much shuffling in the upper tiers of the box office charts. Details on the films are listed below, after the image.


Bbongddol (kr)– d. Oh Myeol, starring Kim Min-hyeok, Lee Kyeong-joon

Bridesmaids (us)– d. Paul Feig, starring Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (fr) — d. Jan Kounen, Anna Mouglalis, Mads Mikkelsen

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (us)– d. Troy Nixey, starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pierce

Drive Angry (us) –d. Patrick Lussier, starring Nicholas Cage, Amber Heard

Eoigeu Jeo Guitgeot (kr)– d. Oh Myeol, starring Oh Yeong-soon, Moon Seok-beom

Hangover 2 (us)– d. Todd Phillips, starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms

Hoshi O Ou Kodomo (jp)– d. Makoto Shinkai, voiced by Sumi Shinamoto, Fumiko Orikasa

Invasion of the Alien Bikini (kr)– d. Oh Yeong-doo, starring Hong Yeong-geun, Han Eun-jeong

Public Enemy No. 1 (fr)– d. Jean Francois Richet, starring Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu

Shaolin (hk)– d. Benny Chan, starring Andy Lau, Jackie Chan

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Index of the 70s: Kim Ho-seon

21st August 2011

Continuing the on-going project of indexing all the films of each decade. Here are the films of director Kim Ho-seon (and one of Choi Hoon that I left out when I entered his films). Other films can be found listed by director by clicking the tab marked “the 1970s” at the top of each page.

kimhoseon 1974 hwannyeo, kimhoseon 1975 yeongjaheydays, kimhoseon 1976 cuckoosdolls, kimhoseon 1977 winterwoman, kimhoseon 1979 admirationofthenight, kimhoseon 1979 asleepdeeperthandeath,choihoon 1979 runtowardstomorrow

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New DVDs: August 21-27

20th August 2011

mother is a whoreofficer of the year dvdThere are two films being released on DVD this week. The first up is a movie that was made in 2009 and screened at film festivals around the world before finally being allowed to have a limited release in Korea. The difficulty My Mother is a Whore had in securing a distributor in Korea is no doubt due to the subject matter accurately reflected in the title. It is about a man living on the edge of poverty. The man’s father had given up on the little family and left his wife and son to fend for himself, so the son begins lending his 60-year old mother out to the men in the neighborhood in order to get money to live. However, the guilt over what he is doing and the bitterness he feels on his father begins to take a toll on the man’s sanity.  The film is directed by Lee Sang-woo who is also the lead actor and co-stars Lee Yong-nyeo as his mother. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: 19+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running time: 96 min./ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: August 25.

The second movie coming out on dvd this week is Officer of the Year that I already reviewed here.  It was directed by Om Chan-ik and stars Park Joong-hoon and Lee Seon-gyun. Number of discs: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 117 min./ Suggested Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: August 25.

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Index of the 1970s: Choi Hoon and others

15th August 2011

Here are some more entries for the index I am building.  This one contains mostly the remaining films of Choi Hoon as well as a number of other directors.  All of these thumbnails can be clicked and enlarged to view the full image and cast/staff information.  You can also click the tab at the top of the page labeled ‘the 1970s’ where they are listed alphabetically by the director’s last name.

womendetectives choihoon, treeofdreams choihoon, makewayfortomorrow choi hoon, bestfriend choihoon, devotingmywholebody choihoon, heukpyokaek choihoon,butterflymaiden song yeongsoo, flyingturtleship song jeongyool, greatescape yoogichang kangdaeseon, itisyou shinsungil, kongjwipatjwi kang taewoong, 2000-006

oh– the last movie in this set isn’t from the 70s– it is from 2000.  I just put it in there because I made it months ago when I was experimenting with the new design and fonts for these plates.  It may not belong with these films based on year but really, how many of you actually remember Ghost Taxi?

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