Seen in Jeonju

Archive for June, 2013

Horror Stories 2 (2013)– spoiler free reaction

30th June 2013

Horror Stories 2– 무서운이야기 2– directed by Kim Seong-ho, Kim Hwi, Jeong Beom-shik, and Min Gyu-dong. Starring Seong Joon, Lee Soo-hyeok, Baek Jin-hee, Kim Seul-ki, and Jeong In-seon. –96 minutes–Release date: June 5, 2013.

still_02 I am amazed at how quickly my internet TV provider gets ahold of movies these days. Horror Stories 2 was released at the beginning of the month and just three weeks later it is on tv. Of course there are some drawbacks to this speedy service. One is that I rarely take the trip into town to watch movies anymore.. a drawback because I am afraid I am turning into a homebody. The other drawback is that it costs slightly more to watch new movies on tv than in the theater..It is 10,000 KRW instead of the usual 7-8,ooo KRW.. Of course, it is more cost efficient if I factor in gasoline or bus fare. and if you watch it with someone, then it is definitely a savings.

I watched this movie alone… it is the only way to see horror movies and get the full impact.
Because this movie is so new, I am not going to give any information about the plot. I will only mention my feelings about each chapter of the film.

Horror Stories 2 consists of three main tales encompassed by a framing story. The first story, in my opinion was the scariest. It was titled The Cliff.. well..that is a translation of the title anyway, I did not see it with subtitles. I will not give away spoilers about the plot at all. I just want to say that it was expertly crafted and acted by the two leads. I did not like the acting of the brother of one of the climbers, but it was a small role so there is no real problem. Tension and suspense build in this short for excellent effect. I just wish that slow, steady build had been maintained until the end. The final scene is rushed and should not have been.

The second story, The Accident, was my least favorite.. not because of any major faults in directing or acting.. but because it was too predictable. I knew what was happening and what was going to happen about thirty seconds into the story. There have been too many horror movies with the same set up. While it does have a few good scenes, it never really frightened me.

The same is not true for the third story, Escape. About five minutes into the tale, I thought that I was going to hate it. It looked like more of acomedy than a horror film, which isn’t always bad, but the comedy was quite childish and much of it even relied on bathroom humor. However, the movie went in a direction I had not seen before and, while it retained a comedy feel about it, it became more of a black comedy. .. and parts of this film were genuinely terrifying. Of all the stories, this is the one I thought about when I was nervously trying to get to sleep last night. (I wound up closing the opaque sliding window in the master bedroom that looks out on the veranda– when you watch this movie, you will know why). It is not perfect because of the comedy, but I appreciated the originality of the film.

The framing tale, 444, was hastily thrown together I think and is not meant to be really frightening. It serves its purpose in setting up each story, but it fails as a story in its own right. Again, I don’t blame the director in this case. The structure of the film fails this story as it has to be broken up to introduce the other, longer chapters. So when the twist is thrown in, it comes out of left field and feels quite unneccessary.

I am satisfied that I liked two out of four stories in this film.. especially since the two films that I liked really managed to create feelings of dread and/or terror in me that I want to experience when watching a horror movie.

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Index of the 1970s: Director Kim Seon-kyeong

30th June 2013

Kim Seon-kyeong was born on June 23, 1939 and majored in English Literature at Dongguk University. In 1968, he started work in the film industry as an assistant director before debuting with his won film in 1972, He directed 18 films in the 1970s and most are listed below. To see the others,,or images of films by other directors.. click the tab marked ‘The 1970s’ at the top of this page.

kimseonkyeong1974 billyjang, kimseonkyeong1974 lastfivefingers, kimseonkyeong1975 blackdragon, kimseonkyeong1975 missyeom, kimseonkyeong1975 twoemperorsofnightandday, kimseonkyeong1976 blackdragonriver,
kimseonkyeong1976 secretagent, kimseonkyeong1976 specialmission, kimseonkyeong1977 biryongmoon, kimseonkyeong1977 fourmasters, kimseonkyeong1977 goldengate, kimseonkyeong1977 righteousfighter, kimseonkyeong1978 manwithsevenfaces, kimseonkyeong1978 murimbattle, kimseonkyeong1978 teninstructorsofshaolin, kimseonkyeong1979 collegegirlsconfession, kimseonkyeong1979 desperatetarget

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Index of the 1970s: Directors Kim Mook to Kim Sa-gyeom

28th June 2013

This posts consists of next several directors in alphabetical order whose filmographies of the 1970s I have either almost nearly completed or who did not have very many films to begin with. Their films not listed here, and those of many other directors, can be viewed by clicking the tab marked “the 1970s” at the top of the page.

Kim Mook (1928-1990)– Born in Pyeongyang on November 21, 1980, Kim Mook spent most of his early life there. However, by the time war broke out in 1950, Kim was working as a newspaper editor on Jeju Island. After debuting in film, many of the movies Kim made were anti-communist in nature. Kim passed away in a housefire in March 1990. While we will be dealing with him again in earlier decades, Kim made a total of 13 films in the 1970s most of which I have already posted plates for. Only one remains to be done and that can be viewed by clicking the thumbnail below..
kimmook1974 undertheskyofsakalin

Kim Moon-ok- Kim Mook may have been finishing up his career in the 1970s, but this next director was just getting started. Born Kim Byeong-yeol in Nonsan on October 28, 1945, Kim Moon-ok majored in Korean Literature at Joongang University. After graduating, he entered into the film world as an assistant director starting in 1974. In 1979, he was given the opportunity to direct a film written by Choi In-ho. He directed only one film in the time period we are dealing with here, but his career continued into the 2000s.
kimmoonok1979 othersroom

Kim Myeong-yong was born on January 7, 1938. In the 1960s, he worked as part of director Jeong Cheong-hwa’s staff. Jeong was famous for action films and Kim followed in his footsteps, often co-directing with a director from Hong Kong to capitalize on the kung fu craze of the era. He had made 4 films in the 1970s, three are depicted below and one had been done earlier.
kimmyeongyong1974 dangeroushero, kimmyeongyong1977 fistsofbrucelee, kimmyeongyong1978 themagnificent

Kim Sa-gyeom was born on July 7, 1938 in Masan. He started out attending Hae-in University (now Gyeongnam University) not far from where he grew up, but he did not enjoy his major, Korean Literature and dropped out before he finished. He moved to Seoul and enrolled in an Art College where he majored in Film & Performing Arts. In the early 1960s, Kim was working as a reporter for the Arts and Culture section of a sports newspaper. It was there that he became acquainted with director Yoo Hyeon-mok and in 1965 he began to work under him as an assistant director. He debuted with his own film in the 1970s– and stopped directing after making just two movies. He did continue in the film world however, working as a Busan-based film critic. His debut film had been listed previously.
kimsagyeom1975 changsusheydey,

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More than one Bunshinsaba?

27th June 2013

Bunshinsaba 2012 Bunshinsaba 2 Back in July 2012, I wrote a review of Ahn Byeog-ki’s 2004 film, Bunshinsaba. The very first sentence of the review, for those of you who do not wish to click the link, was “If… I could choose any recent movie I wished to remake, it would be Bunshinsaba.” Earlier today, I was looking at the selections for the Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and saw that there will be a movie screened, directed by Ahn Byeong-ki, called Bunshinsaba 2. The movie, however, is not listed as a Korean-made film. Instead it was produced in China. A quick check of Ahn filmography revealed that he had directed another film in China a year early, that one entitled Bunshinsaba. Was it a remake of the Korean film that Ahn had made nearly a decade earlier? It turns out that the answer is ‘No.’ I tracked down the 2012 Bunshinsaba and have watched about half of it before writing this post.. I will be going back to viewing it soon. The new Bunshinsaba is completely unrelated. Instead of the story taking place in a high school with a tortured ghost possessing young women and causing them to set themselves on fire, the new movies have an entirely different premise. It is about a mother running from what may seems like an abusive relationship.. although at this point in the film I am beginning to question just how much I can believe of the main character’s memories and stories. She takes her young son with her to get him away from his father and they move into an old colonial style house owned by a friend deep in a forest. However, strange things begin happening almost immediately upon their arrival and her son forms a bizarre attachment to an ugly, scowling doll he finds in the garden. It soon becomes apparent to the woman that her son is not himself and the doll keeps turning up in the strangest places. At the point I am at in the film now, the doll is actually quite threatening… Of course, the movie is entirely in Chinese.. and has Chinese subtitles.. so I will not be writing a detailed review of a film I can’t understand. It is not a bad movie, but as yet has not really tread any new ground.
Judging by the image on the poster of Bunshinsaba 2, it will be using the ghost that has been appearing in the 2012 story. Below are the trailers for Bunshinaba (2012) and Bunshinsaba 2 (2013) both by director Ahn Byeong-ki

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Index of the 1970s: Director Kim Ki-yeong

26th June 2013

Kim Ki-yeong (1919-1998) was born in Seoul on October 1, 1919. He and his family moved to Pyeongyang and he graduated high school there. Attempting, and failing, to enter medical school, Kim went to Japan in 1940 and studied the culture. In 1945, he finally entered Gyeongseong Dental School which at that time was attached to Seoul National University. His studies in medicine took a back seat to his extra-curricular activities when he founded the first theatrical club at SNU. When war broke out in 1950, Kim went to Busan to work for the US army making information films and news reels. His work was praised there and after the war, Kim debuted with his first movie in 1955, There is little doubt that Kim was one of the most creative directors at that time and his work is still praised today. In the 1970s, Kim directed just 10 films. I had posted plates of them earlier and these can be viewed by clicking the tab marked ‘The 1970s’ at the top of the page. Here are the remaining 7 from that decade.

kimkiyeong1974 transgression, kimkiyeong1975 promises, kimkiyeong1976 bloodandflesh, kimkiyeong1977 ieodo, kimkiyeong1978 soil, kimkiyeong1978 womanwithbutterflytattoo, kimkiyeong1979 womanofwater, kimkiyeong1979 neumi

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Index of the 1970s: Director Kim Ki-duk

25th June 2013

A few days ago, I posted a review of the debut film of Kim Ki-duk, the Five Marines and he is next on the list for me to complete in the index. I had already posted plates showing posters from 15 of his 19 films made in the 1970s. His career as a director halted in the late 70s, but we will be seeing quite a bit from him again when I start indexing the 1960s.
kimkiduk1974 yookwansoon, kimkiduk1974 flowerybier, kimkiduk1975 bestsinger, kimkiduk1977 lastinning
To see the rest of his films, click the tab above this page marked ‘the 1970s’

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Korean Films Opening June 27, 2013

24th June 2013

Killer Toon

Cheer Up, Mr Lee

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Five Marines (1961)

23rd June 2013

Five Marines– Director Kim Ki-duk (1)– starring: Shin Yeong-gyun, Choi Moo-ryong, Hwang Hae, Kwak Gyu-seok and Park No-shik. Running Time: 118 minutes.
five marines 1961 Last night I had the chance to watch this classic war movie and I could not pass it up. How could I? The cast list above reads like a Who’s Who of actors from late 50s/early 60s in Korean cinema and it also included such powerhouses as Kim Seung-ho, Hwang Jeong-soon and Dok Go-seong. It was also the debut film of one of the most prolific directors of the 1960s, Kim Ki-duk. No, not the Kim Ki-duk who is directing films such as Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter..and Spring and Pieta. This is the original Kim Ki-duk who made 66 films in the course of his 16 year career.. and 49 of them were in a 9 year period! Of course, just because he could wrap of shooting and move on to the next project quickly does not make him a great director. In fact, most of his films are just passable with a few standout movies. His best films include Barefoot Youth (1964) and South and North (1965) while his most memorable film is probably Yonggari, Monster From the Deep (1967). However, if I were to put together a list of five or so directors who best represented Korean filmmaking in the 60s, Kim Ki-duk would certainly make that list. As I said, his films may not have been the best or most creative, but they were all relatively mainstream for the time and closely followed the trends that audiences were following or the ideals the government demanded.

The Five Marines is an example of that. It follows the feeling and structure of many World War II movies made in the west just after that war. In fact, while I was watching this film, I jotted in my notes that John Wayne would have been in it if it had been made in the west– especially in some of the more unrealistic battle scenese. Now, that note might have been a little bit unfair. I do not care for John Wayne films at all and the Five Marines is better than the majority of his films as the machismo is kept to a minimum.

Of course, there is a lot of macho posturing in this film– it is almost inevitable in this type of movie where male egos compete or chaff against being a subordinate to a higher ranking officer. But it is moderated as the film attempts to humanize each of the priniciple characters with flashbacks to their home and civilian lives. We spend the most time learning about Oh Deok-soo played by Shin Yeong-gyun. He is in the unenviable position of serving on the front lines with his father as the commanding officer–a father he feels has let him down through the years prior to the war. Deok-soo is devoted to the memory of his mother. He feels his father is not doing enough to remember her. Worse, his elder brother seems to be self-destructing by taking to drink heavily and disrespecting their deceased parent by bringing home a young woman of ill-repute on the eve of the anniversary of their mother’s death. Of course, the dynamics in the Oh family household are meant to represent the situation in Korea building up to the war with Deok-soo representing the south, his brother representing the north and their mother representing the lost Joseon Empire which ended when the Japanese took control of the pennisula in 1910 and which was the last time that Korea was a whole, independent nation.

While Shin was an excellent actor, I feel this area of the film could have been improved by using a younger man to play the role of Deok-soo. At the time of filming, Shin was 33– which of course is not old at all. However, his character Oh Deok-soo is supposed to be hurt and bitter about how his father, by his inaction in punishing his older brother, seems to favor one over the other. This level of petulance, while never pretty, is at least understandable when a person is in their teens. It is far less sympathetic when a person is in their 30s and unfortunately, I just wanted to shake him and say, “Get over it!” rather than feel any empathy with him.

Each of the characters get a home seen as well and these are possibly easier for audience member to connect to as they say goodbye to their mothers, wives and/or girlfriends prior to leaving for the war. These little snippets into their personal lives are all touching in their own ways and do well to add a little bit of depth to these characters who otherwise would just be stereotypes of different age groups of parts of society. While the seen where Kim Hong-goo (Hwang Hae) leaves his elderly mother is supposed to be the most heart-wrenching, I was most interested in the goodbye-scene given to Ha Yong-gyu (Nam Yang-il). Yong-gyu, the nicest guy on the front, states at one point that he is an orphan and has no idea where he was born. When he says goodbye to the girl he loves, their are hardly any words spoken. He calls to her outside her window on the ground floor. When she goes to the window open window, the couple just hold hands, seperated by her house. I felt it was clear that the pair were not supposed to be meeting– that possibly her parents did not approve of their daughter meeting with an orphan (not an uncommon trope in Korean films from this era) and their love was in secret. It was a successful scene because I wanted to know more.

In this type of film, where a small group of soldiers volunteer for a dangerous mission for the greater good of the rest of their fellow military men, you have to expect that some, most or all will not make it back to base. This question kept me watching until the end of the movie which went rather later into the early morning than I would have liked. But it is to the movies credit that it kept me awake and curious until the end. I would give this film a 5 our of 10 stars. It is certainly a good film and representative for its time, but keep in mind that modern audiences.. who seem to have no patience for black and white films, understated special effects and slower pacing.. will probably not appreciate this movie.

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Index of the 1970s: Directors Kim Jong-seong and Kim Joon-shik

22nd June 2013

Director Kim Jong-seong was born on September 16, 1935 in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. He attended Kookje University, majoring in International Literature and debuted as a movie director in 1977, making thirteen films by 1985.
kimjongseong1977punghyeob, kimjongseong1978rainbowinmyheart, kimjongseong1978superkungfufighter, kimjongseong1978thetrap

Director Kim Joon-shik was born in Imshil in North Jeolla Province on March 7, 1935. Immediately after graduating high school in Jeonju, Kim got a job working as part of director Ahn Jong-hwa’s staff before starting as a director in his own right in the mid-1960s. Kim was a casual director, more often working in the production area of films, and he only directed 9 movies by 1990, although his career in film extended further through the mid-90s. The majority of his movies dealth with family issues and his best is generally considered to be No More Sorrow depicted below.

kimjoonshik1978nomoresorrow, kimjoonshik1979letterfromheaven

To see more from the directors of this decade, click the tab marked 1970s at the top of the page,

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Index of the 1970s: Kim Jin-tae

21st June 2013

Kim Jin-tae (1940-1981) started working in the movie industry when he was just 19 years old. He worked under such directors as Ahn Hyeon-cheol, Kang Dae-seon, Seok Rae-myeong, Moon Yeo-song and Kwon Cheol-hwi for ten years as an assistant director. In 1974, he got his chance to direct his own film, Unforgettable, which unfortunately did not live up to its title. His failure inspired him to go to Hong Kong. At that time, Hong Kong films were enjoying immense popularity and Kim wished to learn what he could there. He wound up co-directing several films there, many of them starring Jackie Chan. However, Kim Jin-tae passed away at an early age but directed films right up until his death. Below are the films he directed and co-directed in the 1970s.

kimjintae1974 unforgettable, kimjintae1976 killermeteors, kimjintae1977 newbigboss, kimjintae1978 halfaloafofkungfu, kimjintae1978snakeandcraneartsofshaolin

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