Blog Archives

Master (2016)

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It’s a sign of the times: the financial thriller is officially a thing. It wasn’t so long ago that thrillers were dominated by communist infiltrators or spies, old fashioned corrupt cops, bank robbers, and garden-variety psycho killers. But as chatter of wealth inequality gets louder, globalisation continues to fail and the one percent closes ranks, the Big Bad du jour is increasingly the Wall Street banker or multinational CEO. As a ‘genre’, the financial thriller has been around in book … (read more)

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Train to Busan (2016)

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Korean film watchers might have spotted the news that zombie film Train to Busan screamed past the 10 million domestic tickets mark on Sunday, becoming the fourteenth Korean film to do so, ever. From all accounts, it seems to have been a bit of an unexpected hit, too: the zombie genre hasn’t been explored (even done to death?) in South Korea as it has in Hollywood, and it’s the first live action film from director Yeon Sang-ho, whose previous … (read more)

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Revivre (2014)

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As the European title of the film suggests, the story is about rebirth or to come alive again. Interestingly, Revivre’s Korean title Hwajang (화장) means “cremation” and “make-up”, and as the film progresses all of these meanings come into play in the narrative of the story, culminating in an end that is at once poignant and thought-provoking, and kept me guessing at the outcome until the credits rolled.

What’s seemingly a bland story about a senior executive’s ordeal in … (read more)

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My Ordinary Love Story (2014)

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My Ordinary Love Story is screening at this year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia. See the KOFFIA website for more details!

My Ordinary Love Story is not your ordinary love story. It starts off as one, but soon takes you on an unexpectedly wild ride along with the film’s main couple, Eun-jin and Hyeon-suk.

Eun-jin is an almost-30 year old woman who has yet to find the right man; that is, until she meets the plain but loving Hyeon-suk. The … (read more)

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The Target (2014)

The Target is screening at this year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia. See the KOFFIA website for more details!

The Target begins with a rainy cold-open in which Baek Yeo-hoon (Ryu Seung-ryong) staggers out of a building, a bullet wound in his stomach and a grizzled grimace on his face. He’s pursued by a couple of literally jackbooted thugs with guns who seem intent on finishing him off — and although Baek makes it out alive, he’s hospitalised. The credits … (read more)

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The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014)

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The Admiral: Roaring Currents is screening at this year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia. See the KOFFIA website for more details!

For me, not being Korean, it is hard to get behind Korean nationalism. Period piece war movies like The Admiral have this nationalistic intent, meant to inspire pride whilst reminding us of the sacrifice made by those who’ve died in history — as an almost direct connection to our present selves.  Being able to empathise with the characters plays … (read more)

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A Hard Day (2014)

A Hard Day is screening at this year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia. See the KOFFIA website for more details!

There’s something to be said about throwing the audience into a film with a literal crash.  Launching the story with an accident, learning about our main protagonist Go Gun-su (LEE Seon-gyun) as he makes a bad decision work is tense, exciting and wonderful setup for the unravelling of his ‘perfect crime’, something we no doubt expect from a film with … (read more)

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The Terror, Live (2013)

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The Terror, Live is a nail-biter of a thriller that screened in South Korea about a year ago, managing five million domestic tickets sold — a pretty decent showing given that it opened against Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer (which set domestic opening records, and eventually ended up at 9.3M admissions). Terror is a very different film, though: recalling Hollywood “maniac on a phone” films of yesteryear (think Phone Booth, or perhaps even Speed), it sets almost the entire film … (read more)

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