7 items from 2015
Unlike last week’s Grand Bell Awards, which gave ten prizes to “Ode to My Father,” Korea’s Blue Dragon Awards (a.k.a Cheongryong Awards) spread the love between “Ode,” “Assassination,” “Veteran” and “The Throne,” the four big box office hits of the year, and a few indie releases.
Best picture, Thursday night’s biggest award, went to Choi Dong-hoon’s patriotic period drama “Assassination.” The film also won best picture and best costume for Cho Sang-gyeong
Action comedy “Veteran” won best director for Ryoo Seung-wan. Ryoo did not attend the awards as he is in Japan, scouting locations for his next feature “Gun-ham-do.”
The numerical winner was, however, Lee Joon-ik’s “The Throne,” which won best actor for Yoo Ah-in, best supporting actress for Jeon Hye-jin, and three technical awards including best score, cinematography and lighting. “Ode,” the year’s biggest grossing title, was awarded highest audience award, »
- Sonia Kil
Jk Youn’s box office sensation “Ode to My Father” came out on top at the 52nd Grand Bell Awards (a.k.a Daejong Awards), one of Korea’s major film awards.
At the ceremony held at the Korean Broadcasting System Hall, “Ode” took home ten trophies including best picture, best director for Youn, best actor for Hwang Jung-min, best supporting actor for Oh Dal-soo, and six technical prizes.
At the 160-minute ceremony, Choi Dong-hoon’s “Assassination” won best actress for Gianna Jeon and Lee Joon-ik’s “The Throne” took best supporting actress for Kim Hae-sook. A major hit, Ryoo Seung-wan’s “Veteran” did not win any award.
Best debut actor and actress went to fast-rising star Lee Min-ho from Yoo Ha’s “Gangnam Blues” and Lee Yoo-young from Cho Geun-hyun’s “Late Spring.” Baek took best debut director for his high concept romantic comedy “The Beauty Inside.”
Chinese stars »
- Sonia Kil
Written by Choi Dong-hoon and Lee Ki-cheol
Directed by Choi Dong-hoon
South Korea, 2015
Assassination is pure entertainment. Director Choi Dong-hoon pulls together an astonishing group of talent both in front and behind the camera to portray a story close to South Korea’s heart with humour, pathos, gorgeous cinematography and a series of impressively bombastic action scenes to create one of the most exciting adventure films in recent years. Comparisons will and have been made with Quentin Tarantino and his similarly set Inglourious Basterds, but where the American filmmaker’s story veers wildly from historical fact, Choi, while still playing fast and loose with history, keeps as close to at least the essence of the facts as much as he can, as he portrays a very important period in South Korea’s history when the Independence Army fought against the country’s Japanese oppressors at the dawn of the Second World War. »
- Liam Dunn
Anyone hungering for the sort of Hollywood-produced, period-set adventure stories that once were a mainstay of Saturday matinee cinema will take special delight in “Assassination,” a sensationally entertaining mash-up of historical drama, “Dirty Dozen” style shoot-‘em-up, spaghetti Western-flavored flamboyance, and extended action setpieces that suggest a dream-team collaboration of Sergio Leone, John Woo and Steven Spielberg. Never mind that helmer Choi Dong-hoon (“The Thieves”), working from a script he co-wrote with Lee Ki-cheol, doesn’t always make it crystal-clear just who’s really allied with whom, and why Character A is (or is not) killing, or at least trying to kill, Character B. This propulsively paced and lavishly mounted South Korean production, already a smash hit in its home territory, is sufficiently potent in its overall impact to make profitable incursions into global markets.
To offer any sort of detailed plot synopsis for “Assassination” is to risk spoiling twists — some predictable, »
- Joe Leydon
“Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island” is a disappointing follow-up to the far more sprightly “Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow” (2011), also helmed by Kim Sok-yun. Though not without some zingy segs, this South Korean period action-comedy-adventure — about a brilliant detective with a bumbling streak and his far more entertaining sidekick — is hampered by jarring tonal shifts and undisciplined plotting. The resulting mishmash rises just above the mediocre. Pic has hit paydirt locally with 3.9 million admissions since its Feb. 11 release, while U.S. box office performance, following a limited rollout on March 6, has been modest.
The titular character is Kim Min (Kim Myung-min), a brainy and occasionally inept late-18th-century combo of Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes. According to pre-titles text info, the nobleman, inventor and master sleuth works on secret commands given by none other than the (unseen) Joseon dynasty monarch King Jeongjo. This time around, the »
- Richard Kuipers
Korean production and distribution combine Showbox will unwrap a slew of big-budget titles for pre-sale at this week’s Hong Kong FilMart convention and rights market.
“Assassination,” currently in post-production, reunites director Choi Dong-hoon with several members of his team from 2012 megahit “The Thieves.” Returning stars include Gianna Jun (“The Berlin File”) and Lee Jung-jae (“Big Match”), matched with Ha Jung-woo, star of “The Chaser.” They are joined by veteran supporting actors Oh Dal-soo and Cho Jin-woong, who have recently added record breakers “Ode to My Father” and “Roaring Currents,” respectively, to their credits.
Veteran actor Song Kang-ho (“The Attorney”) and young talent Yoo Ah-in (“Thread of Lies”) head the cast of “The Throne,” which also launches at FilMart. Set in the Joseon dynasty, the period drama features crown prince Sado, who is locked up in a rice chest because of his father’s political decision. Period drama specialist »
- Sonia Kil
Exclusive: Adventure period comedy sequel sells to slew of territories, including Japan.
Korea’s Showbox/Mediaplex has pre-sold adventure period comedy Detective K: Secret Of The Lost Island to a slew of territories, including Twin Co for Japan.
The film, which is scheduled for Korean release on Feb 11 in the run-up to Lunar New Year, has also gone to Lemon Tree for China, Av-jet for Taiwan, Soundspace International for Indonesia/Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos, Viva Communications for Philippines and Colourful Garden for Myanmar.
In addition, Full Brief Marketing, a company affiliated to China Lion Entertainment, has acquired the film for Australia & New Zealand and Dreamwest Pictures for North America.
The film is a sequel to Detective K: Secret Of The Virtuous Widow, which was a big hit over Lunar New Year 2011, pulling in 5m admissions. The sequel reunites the team of director Kim Sok-yun and cast Kim Myung-min and Oh Dal-soo. Actress Lee Yeon-hee »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Shackleton)
7 items from 2015
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