Sunday, March 11, 2012

Movie Review - Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel Poster

* Title: Hansel and Gretel
* Revised Romanization: Henjelgwa Geuretel
* Hangul: 헨젤과 그레텔
* Director: Lim Pil Seong

* Runtime: 116 min
* Language: Korean
* Country: South Korea
* Leads: Cheon Jeong Myeong, Eun Won Jae, Sim eun Kyeong, Jin Ji Hee


I will soon make another post with my opinion on the ending
I don't include this here as it will have spoilers and be sizeable

"Hansel and Gretel" is one of the first Korean movies I watched since I started getting deeply into Korean cinema. To this day, it remains one of the strongest experiences I've had regarding films.

This movie is portrayed and acted out as a horror fantasy film. It does have its scary moments, but it goes beyond that. Some of you, like me, might think you know what kind of movie you'll be seeing. You might make assumptions about it and chances are that some of you will be feeling like idiots by the time this film is over. As I did.

Being audiences which are so used to films and stories where repetition and predictability are a given, films like this remind us how you can do something wonderful and original.

Films like these make Korean cinema brilliant, I feel. I also don't think they would have handled this so well in Hollywood. So, the differences of these two industries show in movies like "Hansel and Gretel".

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Promotional Weaknesses of Korean Movies (Domestic)

Korean Movies Domestic

In the "Abroad" part of this article, I talked a bit about the problems of international promotions by the Korean film industry. From issues of availability, to choice of works for promoting, to the foreign fanbase which can, in some cases, limit what people see in Asian works.

But let's go to promotion within the country now, and talk a bit about the issues that are there. Far more disturbing ones than the international promotion ones, as these influence that as well.

One quite big problem is that, while it's good to promote mainstream films, a lot of ones which would appeal to many are not funded or then not getting a wider release for a long time, while other very bad pieces of cinema do get attention because of a certain commercial reason. I wrote about this recently, in my article about the sci-fi genre in Korea.

Why is it that "You're My Pet" or "Temptation of Wolves" or "Quick" get so much hype and support, while other potentially good ones don't?

"Doomsday Book", which is mentioned in that article, had started filming since 2006. Six years to get such a different and interesting project out, but bad commercial films get all the money and help they need. I am not stating something new here. This is a global issue. Business is placed over quality. But because Korea does have potential and still has the power to not end up like you-know-what, I feel that such worries and complaints should be voiced. Especially by Koreans.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Promotional Weaknesses of Korean Movies (Abroad)

Korean Movies Abroad

No one can deny it, that Korean movies are very well made. They have good budgets that are used well, most of the time. Even with small budgets, Koreans can create very nice things. Because when the money is less, you become more creative.

Korean movies are also well promoted, if they are guaranteed successes. But there are also some issues that should really be handled. Some issues of promotion, from what is chosen to be promoted to how things are promoted, need to be addressed, because they give the wrong kind of image about Korean cinema and sometimes even create completely false expectations for a work.

These issues can be found both on the local promotion and international promotion sides. I will talk a bit about a couple of them that I personally find badly done or even immoral, in some cases. In one particular type of case, in fact.

I will split this in to two articles and start with the international side (although some of the domestic issues affect this too) and less heavy of the offenders in this one. Korean cinema is not as widespread as Hollywood. It doesn't really have a choice, as Hollywood has made it its business to keep competition out of its global dominance.

One problem here is, that a lot of the people who are interested in foreign cinema are also those who reject anything mainstream and Hollywood, but are sometimes a bit too fixated on arthouse. They see Asian cinema as "alternative" and think it's filled with movies that don't give a damn about money and are just interested in deep philosophical and meaningful explorations of the human psyche, or whatever some of them find "art", simply because it's ambiguous or overly self-absorbed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Movie Review - Jeon Woochi

Jeon Woochi Poster

* Title: Jeon Woochi
* Revised Romanization: Jeon Woo Chi

* Hangul: 전우치

* Director: Choi Dong Hoon

* Runtime: 136 min
* Language: Korean
* Country: South Korea
* Leads: Kang Dong Won, Kim Yoon Seok, Im Soo Jeong


This does contain some spoilers about the villain, but you probably know who it is before even getting into the movie. It's revealed very early on too.

You know, there are good action family movies which you don't take too seriously, despite them doing so for themselves. And then there are movies which are just simply not trying to feign any seriousness and downright play on their wackiness. Jeon Woochi is the latter.

This is based on Korean folklore "The Tale of Jeon Woochi", but I am not aware to what degree it drives its inspiration from it.

The movie opens with a little backstory on the villains and supernatural creatures in the story. It talks about the evil creatures of it, as well as certain benign persons who managed to royally mess up and release said evil creatures to the world. The "good guys" in this movie are generally pretty useless in some aspects.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hollywood Invasion - The End of Korean Cinema?

20th Century Raid

We all know by now, that the US policy (the government's, not the innocent citizens') is "Shut them down or use them". I'm sorry. I meant "save them". Shut them down or "save" them. They do it to countries, barging in to "save" them, they do it to businesses.

The latest attempt at "saving" comes in a form very dire for Korean movie fans. Apparently, 20th Century Fox will "directly invest" in the Korean movie industry, making 5 movies and distributing them to the world through its own network. That is, 5 movies for now. If this goes well in monetary terms, you can bet there will be more.

If the slower of you need a translation for that, it means that 20th Century Pimp will be making profit from the film industry and talents of Korea. Profit which will largely go to the US. So, the same model they seem to be using in politics and business in general. Riding on the backs of other people to feed their incompetent selves.

I will use the term "Hollywood" a lot, and I am talking about it as a business and as a whole. The art of it is very different from the business part. It's the business part I name "Hollywood" here.

Now, if one wants to find a Korean equivalent for Hollywood, a lot of us know what it is. Dramas. Especially romantic ones. All that matters is ratings. Quality goes out the window when it messes with that. We get the same plots, same characters, same "safe" cliches that keep certain pockets filled by catering to mindless audiences. The masses.

That is exactly what Hollywood is. It uses the same works, over and over again, doing its best to make more and more, to feed fat greedy hands at the expense of art. So, imagine if Korean movies became like Korean dramas. Have you watched "You're My Pet"? The entire movie had more time invested in showing iPads, designer shoes and dresses than it did on character building and plot.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pages Pages

My Pages

I now have Pages. These are still a work in progress and I can't progress much, given that both proper PCs in the house are half busted, I have 7 courses running and hurt my carpal tunnel again (I swear, fangirls are placing curses on me), but it'll happen.

I'm in a time challenge, keeping an eye on the temperature of my graphics card, so if there are any mistakes in the texts, I apologize and will correct it all soon-ish.

For now, you can look at these. The N-Z part of my list will come a bit later, as I am still working on it. I'll also change the look of the widget there, just because it looks boring and to play around with some css and html I have done before.

Hope you like them. Feedback, questions and criticism are welcome.

Doomsday Book - Official Site and Goodies

Doomsday Book Cast

I'll make this short, as I can't write much (carpal tunnel totaled again), but things have been popping up like mushrooms about this film. Which I am glad to see.

The AsianWiki page for "Doomsday Book" has more goodies now, including a 30s trailer which also features Bae Doo Na. It's good to see she's still in it, because the lack of stills of her, save for the one M-Line Distribution took down, was worrying.

This new teaser can be found at the movie's Naver page as well and I'll post it here as soon as I find a form I can embed.

Here is the official page for it too, which looks very interesting. I wish I could read and understand hangul, because I'd love to read this.

You can also find some new pictures in these pages, but I'm a bit pressed for time and struggling with image hosting services, so I'll cut back on this for now.

I've also updated the release date in my previous post. It's coming out on April 5th.

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