Archive for April, 2010


Posted in K Cinema with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2010 by Cristina Blackwater

Epitaph – 2007

Plot: An old doctor, circa 1979, discovers that the Ansaeng (Safe Life) Hospital, one of the most modern medical facilities in the colonial period, is about to be demolished. This sets off reminiscences of his internship days at the hospital in 1942, when he got caught up in a number of supernatural episodes

Alright kiddos, now we’re talking! back to business with a damn good korean horror piece.

Epitaph is the 2007 debut film of the Jeong Brothers (and let me tell you how happy i am to finally discover some korean “brothers” in the filmmaking industry!).  it’s a refined, intelligent and surprisingly effective Gothic horror.

hooray! not all hope is lost when it comes to contemporary asian horror. first of all let me tell you that this movie looks fantastic: stunning visuals, great soundtrack, and good acting. the whole package. plus, it’s actually scary! i was pleasantly surprised to be shaken up by some parts of the movie.

let me try to break it down briefly, tho: because for some people, especially those who are not used to the typical flashback, time-lag structure of many asian flicks, the narrative might seem quite confusing (but really, it isn’t)

The story is roughly divided into three segments. In the first, the young Jeong-nam/Masao finds himself attracted to a stunning-looking young girl’s dead body, allegedly a victim of a failed double suicide.

The second segment, flagrantly influenced by OldBoy (it even repeats a key line of dialogue, “I love you, Ajjeossi” — a generic Korean word for a man some years older), is a tale of Asako , the only survivor of a fatal car crash. Asako is haunted by the awful ghost of her mother, and Doctor Lee , convinced that this is the working of her survivor’s guilt, attempts to cure her.

Finally, the hospital’s surgeons Dr. Kaneda and Dr. Kim Dong-won find themselves wrapped up in some serial murders of Japanese soldiers.

here’s a picture of the three doctors at work

the second segment, the tale of little Asako, is the most effective one, and is also the one that will give you the shivers.

so here you have it, a good, beautiful horror movie that will keep you entertained on your next movie night.


Hello Schoolgirl

Posted in K Cinema, Strange Love with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2010 by Cristina Blackwater

Hello Schoolgirl – 2008

plot: Thirty-year-old Yun-woo bumps into a high school student in the elevator while on his way to work. His heart starts pounding at this teenager’s boldness. At a subway station, KANG Sook can’t stop staring at the long-haired, beautiful Ha-kyung. Ha-kyung breaks up with KANG Sook only a few hours after they first meet. However, KANG Sook has already fallen in love with her.

Let’s step back from the drama genre for a moment: here i bring you one of the best romance movies i’ve seen coming out of mother Korea.  i’ve watched this for the first time about a year ago, and have been thinking of putting it up here for such a long time, but it was kind of bad timing. we’re deep into springtime now, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and yadda yadda.. so there, a summer love movie for all of you romantics at heart out there (because i know you’re out there, even if you’re pretending not to)

Hello Schoolgirl is a 2008 movie directed by Jang-ha Ryu. we are presented 2 love stories: the main one is between Yeaon-woo, a 30 year old man (Yoo Ji-tae, nonetheless.. the dreamy one and only from Oldboy, Antarctic Journal, and Into the Mirror, amongst many others) and Su-yeong, an 18 year old schoolgirl who happens to become his brand new neighbor.

The secondary story is the one of Sook and Ha-Kyeong, a stubborn (and naive) young boy and a woman with an evident sad past (and fear of abandonment) and a love for photography, who meet at the subway where he falls for her at first glance.

now, let’s leave the secondary story aside for a moment. i mean, that deserves mention but i kind of prefer to focus on the first one. it’s obvious that Yeon-woo and Su-yeong are madly in love with each other. but the thing is.. they can’t be together. he is an “older” (don’t ask me why in Korea 30 is considered older) man, an adult social worker who grew up without family, which is a reason for shame in that country, and she is a young student who’s still in high school. so for whatever social reasons (even tho she’s already 18) they are technically not allowed to be together and have a normal relationship. regardless, he gives her his umbrella when it’s raining and catches a cold for her. she comes into his apartment and makes him soup to make up for it. then they start texting all day and night and go to bed falling asleep with their phones in their hands, giggling like a couple of (adorable) idiots. it’s also a very hot summer and she complains that she wishes it would snow. so what does he do? he buys fake snow and sprinkles it down her window. awww.

she also mocks him from time to time for being someone who gives up too easily in life. on the other hand, he feels like she’s just a kid and that things are just not meant to be and couldn’t work. they briefly go on a very innocent, platonic date and watch a movie together. they sneak into alleys at night when she comes home from school and very secretively hold hands for some of their route back home..

now, what’s it gonna be?

is he gonna be a damn coward and give up on the potential love of his life?

is he gonna stick to it and wait for her a little more until it will be ok for them to be together?

i mean, she’s the typical girl, of course she wants to wait for him. the question lies on him, a man who is often “too good” to go against conventional society rules.

you only have to wait and see: the movie, unlike other things in life, will give you all the answers.

whether you’re the cold, analytical kind of person and you hope for a bad ending and the victory of “morals”, or if you’re a hopeless romantic and think that true love overpowers everything.. this movie is worth a try. it’s not a tear jerker, not at all filled with drama and other things that usually make romance movie so unbearable to watch (me being one of them, most of the times), it’s just a simple, cute, VERY light-hearted movie about a love that runs into some complications.

i think it’s pretty obvious why i cheer for Su-yeong here..

number 1: she likes dogs

and number 2: here she is trying to sport the world famous Cristina Pout (just practice a little more sweetie, you’re almost there)

that’s it, i’m out for now.

oh and i almost forgot: the second love story. the girl is terrified of commitment because it seems like she has lost/been abandoned by someone in her past. but the guy is very light-hearted dumb and really in love and doesn’t take no for an answer. he keeps trying and trying with her, hoping to reach a special spot in her heart. that story is good, too. and it unfolds pretty nicely in the end.

bottom line is: this movie is all adorable and cute and shit.

you should watch it.