Archive for category Korean Movies

(Ahjussi) The Man From Nowhere

I watched this movie with my Korean class and was totally floored~

Plot: 4/5
An ex-special agent Cha Tae-Shik’s (Won Bin) only connection to the world is a little girl, So-Mi (Kim Sae-Ron), who lives next door. Her mother, Hyo-jeong, smuggles drugs from a drug trafficking organization and entrusts Tae-shik with the product, without letting him know. The traffickers eventually find out about her smuggling and kidnap both Hyo-jeong and So-mi. Tae-shik is now drawn back into the world in a frantic search for So-Mi’s whereabouts. In order to save So-mi, he makes an arrangement with the crime mob. While So-mi is still nowhere to be found, the police begin to chase after Tae-shik. With the police and the underground mob on his trail, Tae-shik continues his frantic search for So-mi while his hidden past becomes revealed…”

That’s direct from the back of the DVD box, and it does a pretty good job of explaining the plot. The story is about him searching for the little girl. There is a plot bit they should have included: the girl’s mom turns up pretty quickly- dead in the back of a car the drug guys made Tae-shik drive. She had her organs and eyes cut out, all while she was alive (sedated). So he’s trying to get to So-mi before she’s harvested by the mafia as well. Another way to describe the plot of this movie is “Taken” (the Liam Neeson movie) except the girl isn’t his kid, is only like 12, and it’s drug rings, not sex slavery. Since it’s the same plot, more or less, I took off a point. Overall it has a different feel, you don’t sit there going “Oh god, I”m watching “Taken” by a different name” (not that “Taken” is a bad movie!).

Acting: 10/5

The little girl is an INCREDIBLE actress! She really does a brilliant job. And Won Bin (the lead actor)… Well… The eye candy is enough of a reason to watch this! I think he’s the hottest actor Korea has to offer! Both he and the little girl do amazing jobs, and really everyone involved delivers a high quality performance.

Directing: 5/5
This is an action movie, but the director seemed to stress a lot of the story scenes. The action shots are very high quality, but the story is extremely well developed. These days when you hear a movie title you remember the action shots, but with this one you get a balance between action and story. I really like this style! The director doesn’t go for a flashy shooting format. He seems to be of the “Invisible Directing” mentality, which in action movies isn’t easy to pull off. There are a few nifty tricks, but for the most part he lets the actors tell the story, not a lot of metaphorical shots.

Other Things

I really appreciate that there is minimal handcam BS. During the action scenes and some chases it comes out, but never for very long.

Don’t worry about being able to find this movie in the States. I just came across it today in a movie store. In the US it is under the name “The Man From Nowhere”. I found it in the “Action” section, but it could fit into an “International” movie section too. It is very new, just released in 2010 and in the States I think the release was earlier this year. It has english subtitles, or you can watch it dubbed.

Won Bin in sexy. In case I haven’t said that enough.

The movie is a bit on the violent side, a  lot of cutting and shooting, but nothing too graphic I’d say. There are a few scenes that are a bit hard to watch (the mom being tortured with a hair dryer), but… I think it’s not too bad. I can’t watch “Saw” (any of the “Saw” movies really) and “Pan’s Labyrinth” makes me squirm, but this movie was OK to see. I’d say 14 or 15+ should be alright, even though the official US rating is “R”. Oh, and there is a bit of nudity with the mom’s corpse, if I remember correctly, a chest shot. No other naked bodies, and no sex scenes though, so you just have to worry about language and violence.

I just watched this movie again with my mom, and she said: Won Bin is indeed sexy, and she cried at the end.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Haeundae

Going into the movie (not literally, I watched it on my computer) I knew this was going to be a rip off of “The Day After Tomorrow” (one of my all-time favorites), but I’m really conflicted after watching it…

Plot: 3/5
Like I said, it is a total rip-off of “The Day After Tomorrow”, with some very low-level changes. The story is based around that horrible Tsunamis in Indonesia in 2004 (I believe) where hundreds of thousands died. The premise of this movie is that earthquakes in Japan cause an island to collapse into the sea and create a Tsunamis of equal size which crashes into Haeundae Island (Tsunamis Island) and Busan in South Korea. The story follows a few groups.

Group 1: A girl whose father was killed by a mega wave while out with his fishing crew during the 2004 Tsunamis and her long-time friend who her father asked to take care of her using his dying breaths. This friend made a bad call on the boat which resulted in a crab cage falling on her father and ultimately cost him his life that day, so he carries around both great love for her and guilt. He has a son from a woman who basically “stuck around long enough to pop out a baby and leave.”

Group 2: The Dennis Quaid of the movie who tries to warn everyone but they just won’t listen and his ex-wife, who never told their daughter that he was her father (this is kind of a direct rip off).

Group 3: The girl’s friend who is like an older brother. He’s a real screw-up, but plays a kind of comic relief throughout the movie. He is usually seen with the son of the guy from Group 1.

Group 4: A water rescue guy and a girl who falls in love with him. They seem to always be fighting, and they are most definitely the main comic relief, but near the end of the movie you see they have fallen in love.

I can’t tell you the ending, but it is true Korean style, just like “The Host”.

Acting: 5/5
There are some rough patches, and there is really only one guy in the cast who can be considered “eye-candy”, but overall I think it was an extremely well-acted movie.

Directing: 5/5
Again, I am tempted to take points off for about half of this movie being virtually identical to “The Day After Tomorrow”, but the directing was good. I like the Korean humor (can’t give examples without giving away the story) and he doesn’t dwell when it isn’t important.  I think there are no wasted shots, and I like this director for that, it is very clean cut.

You can watch this movie on YouTube, there is a hard and soft-subbed version. The soft-subbed version is choppy at best, but the hard-subbed is missing a scene. I recommend mixing it and only watching the missing scene (near the end) with soft-sub.

Leave a comment

Announcement- In Case You Forgot

I’m tagging this post not only as an Announcement, but also with the non-English movies and TV shows, so please read if you plan on watching something I recommended.

I watch all of my foreign (non-English) shows online with English subs, and I don’t usually link these shows to my reviews. I just wanted to give you the links I have so you can use them to check out the programs I’ve been reviewing or even to just browse and watch on your own then recommend back to me ^^

First I tend to check this site:

http://www.mysoju.com/

They’re brilliant- they update usually the day after an episode is aired (if the subbing teams have found it) and whenever a link stops working they are pretty quick to get at it.

If they don’t have a show usually this site does:

http://www.dramacrazy.net

One thing to keep in mind though: if you’re from anywhere but the United States you’ll run into problems with anything subbed by the teams on “Viikii.com” (usually marked just as “Viikii”). Their site has special licensing thingies (that’s a technical term) that keep you from being able to watch it in any other country. If you see that MySoju only has a show on Viikii then go over to DramaCrazy. Usually there you can click on an episode, then tell it which video to play (it shows you the links for just about any site the video is uploaded to). I hope that you can use the links!!! ^^

Leave a comment

Attack on the Pin-Up Boys

Haha, I like this movie a lot ^^ I think much of it’s charm comes from the cast, and there are a lot of jokes mixed in that kind of require knowledge in that area, but I’ll try to explain things so you can understand them.

Plot: 3/5
I absolutely love this movie, but without the cast they have I think I wouldn’t be interested in it. The film has a cute plot I think younger kids would like, but if it weren’t for the comedy it couldn’t hold up. The movie doesn’t really have any big depth, and it doesn’t make you think much, but I like it.

Attack on the Pin-Up Boys revolves around a mystery. In 3 months the “Flower Boys” (a Korean term for good-looking guys) of three different schools have been attacked. While walking home the three were called by a mysterious culprit and had poo thrown at their faces. Since no one was seriously injured, the police were unable to investigate fully, but the media heavily covered each incident. The boys who were attacked, pretty-boy Sungmin, basketball star HanKyung, and rocker Yesung, shot to stardom after the coverage of their attacks. Kibum, a high school student, is a popular blogger on the incident, which his investigative spirit has made him the expert on.

Kibum comes to realize that the attacks are following a pattern and that the pretty boy of his school will be next. However, his school doesn’t have one top pretty boy, but three.

First is Siwon, the serious and cold Student Body President, who has an IQ “Equal to his height in terms of centimeters” (needless to say he is very tall). Siwon is flanked at all times by members of the Student Counsel and most notably his Vice President Ryeowook.

Next is Heechul, who leads the school’s dance team. He is always flanked by Shindong and Donghae. Donghae is also in Kibum’s class and is one of his friends. When the school is named as a target, Donghae starts his own investigation into who might be the perp and what clues exist at the other crime scenes.

The final possibility is Kangin, the school’s judo champion. He is surrounded by his two sparring partners: Eunhyuk and a Panda (not joking, it is a very bad panda costume and everyone treats him like a bear).

Each of the three begin to compete for the status as the school’s top pretty-boy so that they will be chosen by the attacker. The movie is about them competing as well as Donghae and Kibum’s investigation into why the attacker suddenly breaks his pattern and skips a month in his attack plans. It all winds up to the surprise revelation as to the culprit’s identity (stay tuned after the credits for his accomplice).

The cast of the movie: L-R (back to front): Kangin, Eunhyuk, Leeteuk, Sungmin, Hangeng, Yesung, Ryeowook, Siwon, Kibum, Heechul, Shindong and Donghae- AKA: Super Junior (minus Kyuhyun)

Acting: 6/5
The acting in this is perfect. Let me explain why: did you notice some of those character names sounding familiar? Well, this movie was written specifically for those actors. Yep, Attack on the Pin-Up Boys is Super Junior’s movie. All main characters (except for adults, all speaking characters) are played by Super Junior members. The movie was a gift for Super Junior’s fanclub ELF (Everlasting Friends). It actually got low reviews in theaters, but had a great sale DVD-wise. The movie relies on Super Junior to make up for the light plot, but that wasn’t a bad move! The members acted expertly, and in fact those in the group who *are* trained actors had the lead roles, the only exception being Donghae, who was trained as a dancer. For “Attack on the Pin-Up Boys” member Ryeowook received two nominations for the Korean Movie Awards- “Best Comedic Performance” and “Best New Actor”.

There are jokes in the movie you might not get without some explanation, so here you go:

The actor playing the Panda is not just some random extra, but it is member Ryeowook. He is the only actor to have two roles in the movie. In the Music Video at the end of the film the Panda’s head is taken off and you see Super Junior leader Leeteuk inside the costume. Leeteuk was in the hospital recovering from a car accident while the movie was filmed. Using a fansite he managed to track down the filming site on the last day and was given a cameo in the music video. Leeteuk and Kyuhyun are the only members not featured in the movie, as both were hospitalized in early 2007 by the same accident.

So what is up with Ryeowook’s Vice President character? Well, Ryeowook decided when he saw the hairstyle that he was supposed to be serious, but the other members told him to be funny, so he went for outrageous.

When Heechul and Kangin are sitting together in the restaurant there is a song playing in the background. Their response to it is “what the hell is that? turn it off!”. The song is “Rokkugo”, Super Junior- T’s mega-hit song. Kangin and Heechul are both featured heavily as vocals in the song. Also in the bar they talk about their love for singer BoA. BoA is another singer under SM Entertainment, the company who founded Super Junior. She is the only female solo singer in SM Entertainment and is close friends with both guys.

When Donghae is in the bathroom he is singing Super Junior’s “U”. The song was Super Junior’s first major hit and it won them their first awards.

The uncoordinated Eunhyuk from the Judo team is actually the lead dancer of Super Junior.

At the end of the film Heechul meets a break-dancing ballerina. This is Yuri, future member of Super Junior’s sister group So Nyeo Shi Dae, who made their debut just after the film was released.

In the music video at the end of the film one of the backup dancers is Key, future member of Super Junior’s brother group SHINee, who debuted in 2008.

There is a rumor with this movie that is greatly debated among ELF fanclub members. One of Siwon’s goons (you don’t see him because apart from Ryeowook and a girl none of Siwon’s goons are shown from the front) and one of the dancers in the music video is said to be future Super Junior- M member Henry, whose presence created the Only 13 and Only 15 divide in Super Junior’s fanclub. The greatest evidence to support his being in the movie is near the end of the music video when Kangin leads a pyramid of students towards the camera as part of the dance. Over Kangin’s right shoulder is the dancer thought to be Henry. I personally think it is, but I haven’t seen a clear enough picture to be sure either way.

I do recommend seeing this movie. Even though the plot is a bit simple, the acting is great, and it always puts a smile on my face. The characters are goofy and based on the member’s own personalities (or mean to make fun of the members normal personalities). Also, if you are a new fan to Super Junior it is a great way to learn the names and put them to faces. You won’t see Kyuhyun at all, and you will only see a little of Leeteuk, but you’ll get the other 11.

Here is the trailer

You can watch the movie with english subtitles on YouTube

Leave a comment