Tag: 박해일

Busan 2020 Review: SELF-PORTRAIT 2020, Long yet Riveting Odyssey of a Drunk Savant

I'll admit I went into Self-Portrait 2020 with a fair amount of trepidation. Here is a nearly three-hour documentary that follows a man who has given up on life, turned to the bottle and now roams the streets of Central...

Busan 2020 Review: STEEL RAIN 2: SUMMIT Dives into Thrilling and Surprisingly Funny Geopolitical Waters

Released three years, ago, the geopolitical action-thriller Steel Rain was a solid success on the charts but one that was completely overshadowed by two films that hit theaters within a fortnight of its release, Along with the Gods: The Two...

Busan 2020 Review: YOUNG ADULT MATTERS, An Explosive and Frequently Engrossing Runaway Teen Drama

Three years after his abrasive debut Park Hwa-young, director Lee Hwan returns to Busan with Young Adult Matters, an intense and frequently engrossing follow-up set in the same world of foul-mouthed, unpredictable and violent runaway teens. While it inherits many...

BiFan 2019 Review: THE 12TH SUSPECT, Stagey Mystery Explores Oppressive History

This year's BiFan came to a close with a trip back to the Japanese Occupation Era in the whodunnit The 12th Suspect. Kim Sang-kyung leads a cast filled with indie cinema stalwarts in a tense single location murder mystery that...

BiFan 2019 Review: FILM ADVENTURE, Well-Performed Drama Less Exciting Than Its Title Suggests

The accomplished young actor Cho Hyun-chul returns to screens as a neurotic actor who embarks on a pensive journey peppered by unusual encounters after a row with his girlfriend in Film Adventure, the second feature film by Lee Sang-deok, following...

Review: SWING KIDS, Tap Dancing Miracle Will Keep You on Your Feet Long after the Credits Roll

The Korean War tap dancing musical drama you never knew you needed, Swing Kids is a Christmas miracle from one of Korean cinema's most vibrant directors. After works such as Scandal Makers and Sunny, Kang Hyoung-chul has outdone himself with...

Review: DOORLOCK, Tense Korean SLEEP TIGHT Remake, Goes the Distance

A slow year for Korean thrillers gets a late shot in the arm with Doorlock, director Lee Kwon's tense remake of Jaume Balagueró's Spanish film Sleep Tight. Completely reworking the original narrative, actress Kong Hyo-jin anchors a story rooted in...

Review: DEFAULT, Financial Thriller Overdraws Its Trump Card

Following a promising debut, Split director Choi Kook-hee steps up to the big league with the star-driven period financial thriller Default, a three-strand narrative detailing the calamitous week around Korea's IMF Crisis in 1997, featuring local leading lights Kim Hye-soo...

Review: RAMPANT Fails to Catch On

The actor-director team behind last year's hit spy action-comedy Confidential Assignment returns with their latest tentpole Rampant, an action-horror that looks to put a period twist on Yeon Sang-ho's runaway 2016 zombie hit Train to Busan. Hyun Bin versus the...

Review: BURNING, a Thriller Like No Other

Eight years after his phenomenal drama Poetry, Lee Chang-dong made a long-awaited return to the Cannes competition with his sixth film Burning, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story 'Barn Burning'. Dense with symbolism, this tour de force burrows towards...

Busan 2018 Review: HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD Soars As It Signals Major New Talent

Exploring modern themes and history through the eyes of a young girl, Kim Bora's sensational debut House of Hummingbird is the Korean indie drama par excellence. A subtle exploration of local family and societal pressures crafted in a way that...

Busan 2018 Review: ODE TO THE GOOSE
 Serenades with Strong Performances and Playful Plot

Two years after opening the festival with A Quiet Dream, director Zhang Lu returns to Busan with Ode to the Goose, a terrifically performed and breezy art drama that meanders between allegories of national identity and literary and historical references....

Busan 2018 Review: BEAUTIFUL DAYS Handsomely Frames Somber Subject

As the veil of secrecy over the guarded North Korean regime threatens to give way (if only slightly) in the surprising geopolitical climate we find ourselves in today, the film industry in South Korea has also begun to change how...

Review: THE GREAT BATTLE, Rip-Roaring War Film Eschews Nationalism

Going all the way back to the Goguryeo Dynasty, siege action epic The Great Battle chronicles the historic standoff of a small Korean garrison against the might of the Tang army in the 7th century. Light on jingoism and heavy...

Review: HERSTORY Foregrounds Sensational Cast in Best Comfort Women Tale Yet (by a Margin)

One of the most sensitive issues in Korean society over the past few years has the been the acknowledgement of the plight of the Korean comfort women that were forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese military during World War...

Review: THE SPY GONE NORTH, Bold and Sumptuous Espionage Yarn Eschews Action for Geopolitical Intrigue

Following his period action blockbuster Kundo: The Age of the Rampant in 2014, Yoon Jong-bin is back in the summer season lineup with his 90s-set espionage drama The Spy Gone North, which bowed earlier this year as part of the...

Locarno 2018 Review: HOTEL BY THE RIVER, A Wonderfully Performed New Drama from Hong Sangsoo

Six months after the premiere of Grass at the Berlinale, prolific auteur Hong Sangsoo is back with another black and white drama which once again reunites him with his leading actress Kim Min-hee. Having just debuted at the Locarno International...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: THICKER THAN WATER Director Yoshida Keisuke Talks Sibling Rivalry

In director Yoshida Keisuke’s Thicker Than Water, sibling rivalry lasts far beyond the playground.  At Japan Cuts, director Yoshida spoke with LMD about family ties, jealousy, and sadistically teasing the audience.   The Lady Miz Diva:  As with most of...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: Actor/Filmmaker Saitoh Takumi on Life on Both Sides of the Camera With BLANK 13 and RAMEN SHOP

Beginning his career as a model at age 15, Saitoh Takumi has made his mark as an actor, singer, photographer, radio host, and blog writer.    Because he wasn’t busy enough, Saitoh graced the Japan Cuts film festival with a...

Review: ALONG WITH THE GODS: THE LAST 49 DAYS Sacrifices Focus for Franchise-Building

I'll admit that eight months ago I may have brought a certain amount of prejudice with me when I went to see Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds, the fantasy epic blockbuster that would become the second most successful...