20 items from 2016
Bong Joon-Ho’s latest film “Okja” follows Mija (Seohyun An), a young girl who risks everything to try to stop a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja. The film also stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, and more. Check out a first look at the image above featuring Swinton and Esposito on location in New York, courtesy of Netflix.
Bong’s previous films have been widely acclaimed by audiences and critics. His first film “Barking Dogs Never Bite” follows an out-of-work college professor who abuses and kidnaps the barking dogs in his apartment building because he’s irritated by the noise and the young woman who investigates their disappearance. His next film “Memories of Murder” is based on Korea’s first serial murder in »
- Vikram Murthi
South Korean filmmaking in the modern era owes a great debt to Bong Joon-ho, who has struck international fame through The Host, Memories of Murder and, above all, icy post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer. He’ll return at some point in 2017 with Okja, a sci-fi monster movie with an all-star cast to match.
Another South Korean director that has made a breakthrough on these shores is Kim Jee-woon, who offered the inimitable Arnold Schwarzenegger a route back to the movie scene some years ago with The Last Stand. He’s back behind the lens again, this time for a 1920s-set thriller called The Age of Shadows.
Above, you’ll find the movie’s inaugural trailer – replete with English subtitles – revealing a tense cat-and-mouse thriller spanning from Shanghai to Seoul, South Korea’s capital. Kang-ho Song, Yoo Gong and Ji-min Han are among the cast list.
Set in the late 1920s, The Age »
- Michael Briers
Originally released back in 2014 on the festival circuit where it was a huge success, Sea Fog aka ‘Haemoo’ is finally coming to Blu Ray and On Demand from August 2nd 2016 .
The award winning film is also notable for being the Korean selection for the 2014 Oscars (Best Foreign Film ) .
Kang, a long time captain of the Junjin, is disheartened to learn that his ship has been sold by its owner, leaving Kang’s entire crew in danger of losing their livelihood. Swallowing his pride, Kang pays a visit to Yeo, a human trafficking broker, and decides to take on the dangerous job of smuggling illegal migrants into South Korea. When the Junjin arrives at the pickup point, a violent storm forces the boat to stall in the open waters, inevitably pitting Kang’s crew against the migrants. As tension and unrest spread throughout the Junjin, a dense sea fog envelops the boat, »
- The Tiger
Interview talks to Viggo Mortensen (audio interview)
MTV Teo on how musicals got their groove back
Variety Emmy breakdown by studio. HBO is still dominating the Emmys but not by the margins they use to.
Playbill Live Musicals did well at the Emmys with Grease: Live and The Wiz Live! scoring big
EW TV's best comedies are... tearjerkers!
/Film the terribleness of Batman v Superman is not stopping excitement for Suicide Squad which is tracking for a spectacular August opening weekend
Mnpp on the poster for Disorder (which is »
- NATHANIEL R
Though its moniker leaves much to be desired, Film Movement has today premiered the first Us trailer for Sea Fog, Shim Sung-bo’s dark and brooding maritime thriller that first made waves at Toronto International Film Festival two years ago.
Much like all notable movies to emerge from the South Korean film industry of late, the esteemed Bong Joon-ho – The Host, Memories of Murder, Barking Dogs Don’t Bite, and Snowpiercer – holds a credit on Sea Fog, having helped pen the screenplay and produce alongside Sung-bo.
Following up on their collaboration on Memories of Murder, Sung-bo and Joon-ho’s next creative venture chronicles the story of Captain Kang, a helmer who turns to illegal smuggling in his desperation, accepting a questionable job that involves the safe passage of immigrants from China to Korea.
Tense and nail-biting from the off, the official synopsis for Sea Fog reveals a ominous thriller:
- Michael Briers
For some, the name Bong Joon-ho is enough to garner interest, whether he is directing, producing, or scripting. He has handled the latter two in Sung-bo Shim‘s (who co-penned Bong’s Memories of Murder), which has now been given its first U.S. trailer ahead of a domestic release. The trailer shows a fisherman down on his luck who once again engages in human smuggling between China and Korea. An official selection at Tiff back in 2014 and now finally landing in the U.S. this summer, the trailer promises a taut, beautifully shot thriller.
We said in our review: “Both atmospheric and claustrophobic, the thriller is expertly lensed by cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo (Mother, Snowpiercer) and tensely paced by editors Kim Sang-bum and Kim Jae-bum. The influence of Bong is apparent throughout the film, yet Shim’s direction is top notch and a text book example of misdirection. While the »
- Mike Mazzanti
That’s right. Hulu.
I’m here to tell you that there’s a cinematic streaming goldmine available on Hulu that includes recent hits, older classics, domestic releases, and foreign imports. It’s even home to hundreds of Criterion titles. Sure there’s plenty of filler and seemingly thousands of titles that can’t possibly be real, but I’m here to recommend some good movies to watch this month on Hulu.
Pick of the Month — Hwayi: A Monster Boy (2013)
South Korean cinema features no shortage of brilliant and brutal action thrillers, but while everyone knows about the likes of I Saw the Devil and Memories of Murder there are more than a few gems that have slipped through the cracks. Jang Joon-hwan’s long overdue follow-up to Save the Green Planet is a fast-moving, creatively violent mix of dark deeds and beautifully choreographed fights and stunts. There’s a wicked sense of humor running through it »
- Rob Hunter
Director: Jo Sung-Hee (A Werewolf Boy)
Distributor: Cj Entertainment
Cast: Lee Je-Hoon (Architecture 101), Kim Sung-Kyun (Nameless Gangster, The Neighbor), Go A-Ra (The Magician)
Phantom Detective, its Korean title literally means ‘Detective Hong Gil-Dong: The Missing Village’. (Small trivia: Hong Gil-Dong is a popular fictional character, who can be best described as the Joseon dynasty’s version of Robin Hood.)
In the film, Hong Gil-Dong (played by Lee Je-Hoon) is a ruthless private detective with a quirky personality.
Synopsis: Hong Gil-Dong, after witnessing the murder of his mother as a child, seeks revenge and is on the trail of the killer for 2 decades. While uncovering the identity of the killer, he gets entangled in a much bigger conspiracy than he bargained for.
Director Jo made his first commercial feature debut with the 2012 fantasy romance A Werewolf Boy, which depicts two young misfits finding companionship with each other. It became the most »
- Lady Jane
Bong Joon-ho's Memories of MurderSTORY85%ACTING85%DIRECTION85%VISUALS85%Positivesa masterpiece in all of its aspectsNEGATIVESNone2016-04-2985%Overall ScoreReader Rating: (4 Votes)94%
Based on the true, unsolved case of the first serial killer ever to appear in South Korea, the film begins in October 1986, when the deceased body of a raped woman is discovered in a ditch next to a field. A little later, another similar body is discovered. Two local detectives, Park Doo-man and Cho Yong-koo, are responsible for the investigation, but are obviously out of their depth, since it is the first time incidents of that magnitude have occurred in the area. The rest of the local police department is also equally incompetent, since the officers that arrive at the crime scene cannot even prevent the citizens from stepping into the crime scene until the arrival of the coroner, a fact that ruins any possible evidence.
Detective Tae »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
The Asian Cinema 100 list was released last year at the Biff (Busan International Film Festival), which marked its 20th anniversary with a poll of prominent Asian filmmakers and international critics of Asian film, who were all asked for their top ten of all time.
Japan accounted for 26 films on the list, followed by Iran (19) and Korea (15).
The 15 Korean films are listed below in rank order: Did your favorite make the cut?
1. The Housemaid (1960), joint #10
Directed by Kim Ki-Young, The 1960 version of the erotic thriller The Housemaid is widely considered to be one of the best Korean films of all time.
Featuring a powerful femme fatale character, it was remade in 2010 by Im Sang-Soo.
2. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003), joint #12
“The tranquil beauty of a Korean Buddhist monastery is no match for human cruelty in the stunning Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring.” — New York Magazine.
Directed by Kim Ki-Duk, »
- Lady Jane
It’s safe to say most filmmakers today have learned something from Alfred Hitchcock, if not been directly influence. The master filmmaker's resumé speaks for itself — “Rear Window,” “Psycho,” “Rebecca,” “Notorious,” “Strangers on a Train,” “Rope,” “The Birds,” “North by Northwest,” “Shadow of a Doubt” and “Dial M for Murder” — and his remarkable grasp on technical prowess in achieving big screen spectacle has been rarely matched. And among the things Hitchcock knew best about filmmaking was how to stage a scene, as broken down and analyzed by Nerdwriter1 in his latest video, “How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks A Scene.” Read More: Watch: 7-Minute Video Essay Explores Ensemble Staging In Bong Joon-Ho's 'Memories Of Murder' Taking a closer look at an early scene in “Vertigo” — the 1958 picture some cinephiles would argue is not only Hitchcock’s greatest work, but also quite possibly the best film of all-time — the nine-minute »
- Will Ashton
That’s right. Hulu. I’m here to tell you that there’s a cinematic streaming goldmine available on Hulu that includes recent hits, older classics, domestic releases, and foreign imports. It’s even home to hundreds of Criterion titles. Sure there’s plenty of filler and seemingly thousands of titles I’ve never heard of before, but I’m not here to talk about possible gems like The Christmas Clause… I’m here to recommend some good movies to watch this month on Hulu. Pick of the Month: Memories of Murder (2003) A serial killer is stalking women in rural South Korea, and the police seem powerless to stop him. A lack of resources, political upheaval, and conflicts between the local cops and a big-city detective strain the investigation, but as more weeks pass more women fall victim. Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) hasn’t made a bad movie yet, and »
- Rob Hunter
In China, life is cheap but compassion is expensive — a message that “Old Stone” delivers with caustic power through a taxi driver’s misfortunes, following his refusal to follow custom and do a hit-and-run. Chinese-Canadian helmer-scribe Johnny Ma makes a remarkably mature debut, exposing with stunning clarity the infuriating red tape and flawed logic of China’s system regarding criminal responsibility and insurance policies. Even within a trim 79-minute running time, Ma affectingly dramatizes his protagonist’s moral quandary within a social milieu of spine-chilling callousness. Channeling the style of gritty mainland independent films but without the usual longueurs, the film deftly morphs into a suspense thriller with Dostoevskyan undertones; its provocative subject matter should give it long fest legs.
The prevalence of hit-and-runs in China caught national and then global attention in October 2011, when Wang Yue, a 2-year-old girl from Foshan, Guangdong province, was hit by a van which »
- Maggie Lee
Perhaps the most acute and uncompromisingly grim murder mystery to come out of China in years, “What’s in the Darkness” exposes the putrid minds lurking in a sexually and politically repressed society. First-time helmer-scribe Wang Yichun may have consciously used Bong Joon-ho’s “Memories of Murder” as an artistic blueprint, but her depiction of a schoolgirl’s sexual awakening getting entangled in a serial-murder case represents a femme-centric and wholly Chinese take on police ineptitude and authoritarianism. Insidious and gripping from beginning to end, the film announces a formidable talent with much to contribute to China’s burgeoning demand for cerebral genre films. Her screenplay has already been optioned for a remake, to be helmed by mainland actor Zhang Jingchu (“Peacock”).
Playing a haunting central role is a dreary northern Chinese town on the edge of economic reform, with all the attendant social restructuring. Like “Twin Peaks” with Confucian characteristics, »
- Maggie Lee
Korean Cinema is known for producing high quality action thrillers. In fact , when it comes to crime thrillers its pretty difficult to beat the quality that comes out of Korea. They just have a gift for producing masterpiece after masterpiece.
Given the volume of thrillers produced by the industry, it can be difficult for those just getting into Korean cinema to find the right where to start.
Below are our picks of what we consider to be the very best Korean thrillers. This list is a great starter for those new to Korean cinema or those who may be unfamiliar with some of the movies on this list.
1. Oldboy (Park Chan Wook, 2003)
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
In 1986, in the province of Gyunggi, in South Korea, a »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
"Directing is a matter of emphasis - you emphasize what is important, by under-emphasizing what is less so." Need filmmaking inspiration? Watch this. We don't feature enough of the videos made by YouTube user Every Frame a Painting, and they're always fascinating to watch. The latest one is a profile on ensemble staging, or the art of setting up an ensemble of actors within scenes as part of visual storytelling. The film used to explain this is Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder, a fantastic murder mystery thriller, and the perfect reference for this technique. There's some great quotes at the beginning as well, and plenty to learn. Thanks to Kottke for the tip on this. Description from Every Frame a Painting's YouTube: "How do you emphasize to the audience that something is important? Well, you could always cut to a close-up, but how about something subtler? Today I consider »
- Alex Billington
Rarely do I watch a contemporary film, even those I enjoy, without once thinking, “If only the shot-caller knew that they didn’t have to make a cut,” or at least without wishing a cut to someone was somehow handled differently. (Free piece of advice: conversations along these lines make women very excited.) If the rare exceptions to that thought process (e.g. The Hateful Eight) thus feel like something of a gift, you can imagine how pleased I am to see this matter covered in a new video essay.
1) Let Them Speak
2) Make Them Brighter or Bring Them Closer
3) Let Them Move (Especially Hands or Eyes)
4) Put Them in the Center of Frame
5) Turn Them Towards the Lens »
- Nick Newman
Rushes collects news, articles, images, videos and more for a weekly roundup of essential items from the world of film.Vilmos ZsigmondNEWSVilmos Zsigmond, 1930 - 2016: In December we lost Haskell Wexler, and now another one of cinema's great photographers has passed. Zsigmond was paramount to such films as Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Spielberg's Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Cimino's Heaven's Gate, De Palma's Blow Out, and many more. Keyframe has a roundup.After many, many years under construction the new home of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Bampfa) will open in Berkeley, CA on January 31. "For the first time in sixteen years, Bampfa film screenings will take place under the same roof as the institution’s art galleries." Included in the announcement is the terrific news that the Pfa "will expand the number of film screenings it presents, hosting programs 52 weeks per year." Retrospectives devoted to Maurice Pialat, »
Tony Zhou’s latest begins with a few stern words from Samuel L. Jackson about his intense dislike for having to repeat his performance over and over for multiple angles of coverage. Given that The Hateful Eight is nothing if not an exercise in ensemble staging, it’s timely that that’s the intro for Zhou’s examination of how this technique works in Bong Joon-ho’s masterful Memories of Murder. Much to chew on here, as ever. »
- Filmmaker Staff
Pico Iyer considers how his view of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952) has evolved over the years. Also in today's roundup: Remembering Chantal Akerman and Natalie Cole, Kenji Mizoguchi in New York, short pieces on Lionel Atwill and Zasu Pitts, Wim Wenders in Austin, Sergei Eisenstein in London, a video essay on Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Michael Mann discuss The Revenant—and we have a fresh round, and quite a huge one it is, too, of best-of-2015 lists. » - David Hudson »
20 items from 2016
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