Blog Archives

Three… Extremes (2004)

Three… Extremes is both an obscure and a completely appropriate title for this cross-cultural horror film anthology. Obscure because, as titles go, usually you can kind of work out what you’ll be watching or at least the genre it’s going to be presented in, just from the title. This title, however, doesn’t give away a lot up front. I mean, what’s with the ellipsis? Three dot dot dot Extremes. Yeah okay. Clever way to label it a sequel to Three(read more)

Comments Off on Three… Extremes (2004)

Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (2002)

Picture this: you struggle to consciousness on a rough concrete floor in a building abandoned before completion. You’re cold. You’re naked. Your body is racked with pain, which you trace to the roughly-stitched wound on your side, marking where your second kidney used to be. You can scarcely stand, yet you somehow struggle down many flights of stairs to a nearby road, and try to hitch a lift back to town, because there’s no other option.

Welcome to the world … (read more)

Comments Off on Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (2002)

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (2005)

Until you’ve seen a Park Chan-wook film, you’ve never been gruelled. Not even slightly. You may think that other films are raw or powerful or harsh, but other film-makers are novices compared to Master Park. And although Sympathy For Lady Vengeance is visually beautiful, you’ll still be in for a good gruelling.

That said, I’d have to say that this is the gentlest of the Vengeance trilogy (Sympathy For Mr Vengeance and Old Boy being parts one and two … (read more)

Comments Off on Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (2005)

Old Boy (2003)

Let’s get this out of the way first: to quote the MIFF catalogue, Park Chan-Wook’s Old Boy contains scenes which may offend some viewers. Which is to say, lead actor Choi Min-shik eats a live octopus. (Don’t blame me, I’m a vegetarian.) Now we’re not talking about a delicate gulp-and-swallow deal here; that sucker is about the size of a kitten, and he pretty much chomps it down.

I could explain that it’s actually vital to the plot, as … (read more)

Comments Off on Old Boy (2003)

Joint Security Area (2000)

I had wanted to see Joint Security Area for a long time. Its incredible box office success in Korea stamped it as something worth tracking down, especially as the previous box office title holder was the engrossing North-South action flick Shiri. I was delighted when I got the news that JSA was screening at MIFF 2001. I knew I was going to like this film.

Turns out, I loved it.

That is, if “love” is a term that can … (read more)

Comments Off on Joint Security Area (2000)