Archive for February, 2009

My Sassy Girl

Posted in K Cinema, Strange Love with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

My Sassy Girl (Yeopgijeogin geunyeo) 2001

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From IMDB: Based on a series of true stories posted by Ho-sik Kim on the Internet describing his relationship with his girlfriend. These were later transformed into a best-selling book and the movie follows the book closely. It describes the meeting of Kyun-woo (Cha) and an unnamed girl. Kyun-woo is shamed into assisting the girl because the other passengers mistakenly think she is his girlfriend. Once he helps her, Kyun-woo develops a deep sense of responsibility for her which enables him to tolerate (somehow) the girls abuses.

South Korea is mostly known for its violent and powerful cinema, so pure hilarious comedies like this one definitely stand aside. My Sassy Girl is overall one of the most successfull movies of all times for this country, and remains up on top of the lists of every critic from both korea and the west.

Unfortunately, with the fame and the money there comes this big ugly monster called shitty remake, that i suggest everybody not to even bother watching since it’s so bad it will literally make you angry.

My Sassy Girl is cute, funny, moving, brilliant, and even a little crazy: the girl’s main quote thru the entire movie is “do you wanna die?” not to mention she curses and yells at everybody, she drinks herself nearly to death, and she even pukes in her own mouth a little, while poor Gyeon-woo is forced (always with a smile) to stand back and deal with his out of control sassy girlfriend. The movie moves along like an anime movie, or like a good old shojo manga.

If you, like me, grew up reading those volumes from right to left, last page to the first, you are going to fall in love with this movie! But even if you have no idea what i’m talking about, there is no way you’re not going to like it.

Plus, if you don’t fall in love with how outstandingly beautiful this girl is, you are definitely NOT human.

must. see.

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Failan

Posted in K Cinema, Strange Love with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

Failan (2001)

from IMDB: After losing both her parents, Failan (Cecilia Cheung) emmigrates to Korea to seek her only remaining relatives. Once she reaches Korea, she finds out that her relatives have moved to Canada well over a year ago. Desperate to stay and make a living in Korea, Failan is forced to have an arranged marriage through a match-making agency. Kang Jae (Choi Min Shik) is an old and outdated gangster who has no respect from his peers. Short on money, Kang Jae decides to take on the arranged marriage. Having nothing more than a picture of Kang Jae, Failan spends her days dreaming and wishing that Kang Jae would come to visit her. Failan often writes to Kang Jae in sorrow about how much she misses and thinks about him, but never has the nerve to give the letters to Kang Jae. Things take a turn when Kang Jae is asked by his boss to take the fall for a murder in exchange for some money. The only hope in his worthless life is the wife he never met.

Directed by Song Hae-seong in 2001, Failan is a movie about love between two characters that never actually meet, and the really intense tragedy that comes with it. Kang Jae is played by Choi Min Sik, the main character in Oldboy. He portrays a man who lives his life with no goals whatsoever, only to find his sensitivity and emotions when it’s (obviously) too late. Cecilia Cheung and her immaculate acting show us a girl who comes to a new country too young and too hopeless, starts building castles in the sand thinking about a husband she never met, and ends up really falling for it. And when she does, it’s truly heartbreaking. For all parties involved. Viewers included.

This movie has power, and it’s big. If you decide to approach it, be sure to sit back, get comfortable, and keep numerous tissues handy, because it will make even the most cynical person shed a few tears.

Personal happy note about Failan: Choi Min Sik in a suit is always unbelievably HOT! ha ha! did i relieve the tension a little? i don’t want my Valentine’s special to be all sad! coming up it’s going to be a comedy, i promise.

…Ing

Posted in K Cinema, Strange Love with tags , , , , on February 13, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

…Ing (2003)

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more Valentine’s special! …Ing is a 2003 movie directed by Lee Eon-Hee and starring Im su-jeong of A tale of two sisters and I’m a cyborg but that’s ok.

Mina is a cute teenage girl with a deformed hand and a life threatening disease who lives with her single mother Mi-sook, who’s trying to teach her how to live life one day at a time. Altho Mina spent most of her life in and out of hospitals because of her conditions, she is unaware of her imminent death. She eventually embarks on a relationship with Young-Jae,  her new downstairs neighbor, in this humorous, charming, and ultimately heartfelt melodrama.

Im Su-Jeong is an outstading actress. …Ing is a classic romantic melodrama with the difference that this one has wit, its pace is not annoying, and there’s a lot of smart comical relief inbetween scenes. The entire movie revolves around these 3 characters, so the film’s success relies on the brilliance and amazing performance of the main actors. You will laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. Guaranteed. I personally cried a river!!

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Funny note: somehow Im Su-Jeong always ends up in a hospital and/or trying to commit suicide (you’ll find it in i’m a cyborg but that’s ok and a tale of two sisters, too).. At least she does it really, really well.

I’m a Cyborg But That’s Ok

Posted in K Cinema, Strange Love with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

I’m a Cyborg but that’s Ok – 2006

by Park Chan-Wook

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Youn-Goon is working in a factory when the radio tells her she is a cyborg, thus unable to eat human food, and she must recharge herself like a machine. Suddenly she cuts her wrists and put wires in them.. and she is then brought to a mental institution for attempted suicide. Inside the insitution she meets an adorable handful of weird people, like the guy who is so polite he has to walk backwards not to offend you, the woman who thinks she can fly with knit socks, and the gorgeous Il-Soon, who wears odd masks and claims be to be able to steal everything, including people’s skills and personalities. Il-Soon finds himself rather taken with the bizarrely endearing Young-goon, and sets out to save her from her self-imposed starvation…

I’m a cyborg but that’s ok is usually categorized as romantic comedy, but if you look deeply you will find some of good old Park Chan-Wook‘s distinctive style traits: Young-goon is ultimately moved by vengeance, since her role as a cyborg is to revenge her grandmother, who was taken away by doctors and locked in a mental insitution.

Either way, this movie is adorable and weird and more adorable.

the perfect way to start my Zombie Cupcakes Valentine’s week!

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Park Chan Wook gathers together A Tale of Two Sister‘s star Im Su-jeong and korean popstar Rain to take us into a very surreal and bright world full of weird people that are almost impossible not to fall in love with. Personally i have a crush on the girl who can “sing yodel but only look at the world thru a small hand mirror”.

Who is your favorite and why?

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Zombie Cupcakes Valentine’s Special

Posted in K Cinema, Strange Love with tags , , , on February 11, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

Valentine’s Day 2009 is coming up, and i decided to do something a little different.

For the entire week, up until saturday 14th, i’ll show you only movies about unconventional romance, or what i always categorize in my numerous notepads as “strange love“.  my goal is to make you change your mind on the subject of romance. it’s not always as boring and predictable as it seems. think for example Pan’s Labyrinth!

this will be a periodical column on zombie cupcakes, it will take the tension off of my usual focus on brutality but still mantain the thrill.

the list will include one of my all time favorites, I’m a Cyborg but that’s Ok, about love in a mental institution between a girl who believes to be a cyborg and a young guy who thinks he can steal people’s souls. i have good stuff coming up for you guys.. better stay tuned! it won’t be disappointing.

Also i just made a custom header for this blog!! i wanna know if you like it! opinions are always welcome on here.

The Chaser

Posted in K Cinema with tags , , , on February 4, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

The Chaser (Chugyeogja) – 2008

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Wow. Just wow. sometimes i don’t even want to say anything when i come across such awesomeness.

The Chaser is a 2008 movie directed by Hong-jin Na and tells the story of a corrupted cop turned pimp, and being in financial trouble as his girls start disappearing leaving him unable to pay his debt. His old detective skills tell him something’s not right and as the story unfolds, you find out that they have all been called up by the same client, who is a torturer and a psycho serial killer.

I don’t wanna go into details too much, but just know that this movie is absolutely fantastic, incredibly violent, and throws a few strong hints at how corrupted and incompetent the Korean police system is.

And just to add a little personal note:

koreans covered in blood, holding a hammer as a weapon, always make me happy:

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(Lesson well taught, Oh Dae-su)

thank you so much to my friend Yoon Lee for telling me about this movie!!! it was too good!

Into The Mirror

Posted in K Cinema with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by Cristina Blackwater

Into the Mirror (Geoul sokeuro) – 2003

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“Self hatred, triggered by a mental shock, causes a personality to split, and you perceive two worlds, inside and outside the mirror. Reality is divided into two simmetrical worlds, that is, the person is psychologically split in two. If you die outside the mirror, you can still be living within. Also, if the you in the mirror dies you see no reflection.. DO YOU SEE SOMEONE ELSE IN THE MIRROR TOO?”

By now, you all heard of Alexandre Aja‘s Mirrors.

Into The Mirror is the original where the “Mirrors with Kiefer Sutherland” came from.

It was directed by  Kim Sung-ho in 2003, and stars… (drumroll…) hot ass Yoo Ji-tae. Who the hell is he, you might ask?  Well, it’s Oldboy‘s bad guy Woo-Jin (Dae-su’s nemesis) nonetheless. Yoo Ji-tae has this very particular look on his face that just kidnaps your attention. He stares into the void and expresses pain and suffering and loneliness in a way that only a few other actors are capable of. And hey, he’s in Oldboy, that’s a good enough reason to watch all the movies he’s in.

For that reason, and for the fact that mirrors and reflections and the possibility of a parallel world living within always fascinated me, i decided to check out Into The Mirror today. The plot moves along quite slowly but has a few strong points, especially towards the very beginning (a cute young lady slitting her throat with a pizza cutter) and the end (psychological madness all around).

I personally didn’t like Aja’s Mirrors, but i appreciated the special effects. Aja has his own distinctive – and captivating – style, but its power fails to show in this particular remake. Remember how awesome Haute Tension aka High Tension was?

I certainly do.

Please, Alexandre, you started off so well, so how about this?

stop filming remakes and keep doing that instead.