Tag: 2013

Review: Kurosawa's SEVENTH CODE, More Complex And Thrilling Than It First Appears

Those expecting another genre bending, bone-chilling spectacle from J-horror master helmer Kurosawa Kiyoshi may be a little disappointed with his low-budget, brisk, slow-moving 2013 feature Seventh Code. Without explaining anything, Kurosawa throws the viewer into a story that at...

Review: Tone-deaf MONSTER Exhibits Unusual Cruelty Towards Women

Ingenue Kim Go-eun gets her first top billing in director Hwang In-ho's uneven and sadistic revenge thriller Monster. Exhibiting the same irreverence towards genre as in his previous film Spellbound (2011) but with none of the panache, Hwang fails to...

Berlinale 2014 Review: SPROUT's Short and Sweet Seoul Odyssey

A little girl's trip to the market becomes a charming journey through modern Korea in Yoon Ga-eun's delightful short film Sprout, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival last October. Korean indie cinema often makes a point of demonstrating...

Review: Electric Song Kang-ho Leads Courtroom Drama THE ATTORNEY

The combination of politics and cinema has led to some of the most incendiary films the medium has ever produced. Though a tricky balancing act that requires a deft handling of ideologies and a sensitive navigation of contemporary political climates,...

Mr. Halfyard: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love 2013

The theme of the year (if it can ever be boiled down to just one thing) is that "GREED is no longer GOOD, it is complicated." Perhaps this is just fall out from filmmaking projects that likely were conceived at...

2013 TV Talent That Flew Under The Radar

More so than any other recent year, 2013 is notable for the sheer breadth of quality television on the schedules. Because of this, you'd be forgiven for not noticing some of what flew under the radar.In writing this list, I've...

Korean Box Office: Jeon Do-yeon No Match for THE HOBBIT

Despite a major new local release, the Korean film industry was held at bay once again as the pairing of Jeon Do-yeon and Ko Soo wasn't enough to prevent the new Hobbit from taking first place. 2.24 million tickets were...

Review: Time Travel Takes A Siesta At 11:00 AM

Setting aside the barnstorming success of Bong Joon-ho's new feature Snowpiercer, an anomaly if ever there was one, Korean cinema's relationship to the science fiction genre has been a difficult one over the years. Successful mash-ups like Save the Green...

Review: RED FAMILY's High Concept Suffers From Stilted Delivery

Though as a theme it has spawned some of Korean cinema's biggest hits, including Shiri (1999), Joint Security Area (2000), Silmido (2003), Taegugki (2004) and Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005), the representation of North Korea on screen has always been a...

Busan 2013 Review: NON-FICTION DIARY Offers Captivating Glimpse of 1990s Korea

I stepped onto Korean soil for the first time almost 13 years after the end of the 1990s but there's no arguing the otherworldliness of that time, which can still be picked up on today by sampling the available media...

Review: Strong Scenes Doth Not a Narrative Make in Genre-Hopping COMMITMENT

Following on from this year's Secretly Greatly, another action-drama featuring Korean idols playing young North Korean spies who stay undercover in the south only to be targeted by their homeland, Commitment announces itself as a medley of genres, as commonly...

Review: One-Stop Korean Revenge Shop THE FIVE Is A Bloody Good Time

Aside from the greats of Korean cinema - the Bong Joon-hos, Lee Chang-dongs, Im Kwon-taeks and Kim Ki-youngs - years ago, after I first immersed myself in the country's cinema, there were few things that I preferred doing than putting...

DMZ Docs 2013 Review: Unique Shaman Doc MANSHIN Is A Sensory Thrill

I've been a keen fan of Korean films for over a decade and have now spent about a year and a half living within the country's borders, yet, though I've been exposed to it many times, shamanism stubbornly remains a...

Busan 2013 Review: The Devastating HAN GONG-JU Is A Hidden Gem

What is it that drives us to the cinema, time and again? What are we looking for when we enter a theater and the lights begin to fade? In answering that question you will often come across the words entertainment...

Vancouver 2013 Dispatch: STRAY DOGS, AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS, And LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Stray Dogs, the perhaps-last-ever film from Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-liang, is a devastatingly sad, quirk-ily mysterious and slithery film. It's hard to pin down the details of the characters' (a father and his two young children) lives, how much time...

Busan 2013 Review: Thoughtful STEEL COLD WINTER Doesn't Stray from Its Comfort Zone

Sometimes, even the most skillfully assembled volley of words can do little to express our feelings or explain our past experiences. There are moments, so great, that they are beyond words or others, so terrible, that could never truly be...

Busan 2013 Review: Personal and Subdued PASCHA Resonates

Life has a habit of moving on, whether we'd like it to or not. Moments of joy are fleeting and even our most crushing lows are washed away by the waves of time. Our present always leaves us, replaced to...

Busan 2013 Review: THE FAKE Is a Bleak and Devastating Experience

Terrible things happen all the time but it's easy to ignore what goes on around us. Sometimes, we even fail to see what's right in front of us. Independent films, at least those with a realistic bent, frequently attempt to...

Busan 2013 Review: STRANGER BY THE LAKE Explores An Uncanny Attraction

It is hard to know exactly where to begin when it comes to discussing Alain Guiraudie's psychosexual thriller Stranger by the Lake. Direct from Cannes, this controversial film was strangely given an R18+ rating and uncut in more conservative places...

BIFF 2013: Twitch's 10 Picks for the 18th Busan Film Festival

The Busan International Film Festival, the largest film celebration in Asia, is just a few days away and Twitch is packing its bags and heading to the beachside Korean town. I will be making my second trip to the fest...