Reviews written by numinair
The Phone (2DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
May 26, 2018 Stitched Up In Time
Back in 2002 Korean ghost movie Phone became a popular addition to the Ringu Set of long dark haired girls with murderously pasty white faces to give the fearful something to worry about. But with the advancement of mobile phone technology, in place of the television screen, the mobile phone became the next sinister device medium along with the Japanese Takashi Miike movie One Missed Call. Now on to 2015 the Korean movie The Phone procures another phenomena satire but with a more serious ‘edge’ (to pardon a popular The Phone brand pun) of where lawyer Dong-Ho (Hyun-joo Son) a man who attempts to save his medical surgeon wife Yeon-Soo (Ji-won Uhm) from murderer Jea-hyun (Seong-woo Bae) who killed his wife one year ago to the present day. The core phenomena an electromagnetic solar storm somehow enabling Dong-Ho’s mobile phone to anomalously connect with his wife’s phone to the exact month and day in 2014, just before she was murdered.
Before in 2014, all was sort of...well. Yeon-Soo a successful surgeon, Dong-Ho a successful lawyer and both living with their daughter Kyeong-rim (Jeong-he No). I say sort of as Socrates in Republic mentions more lawyers and doctors are needed when introducing a society of increasing luxury. But on the fatal day when Dong-ho celebrates with colleagues at a works party and returning home late drunk, finds his wife dead in the house living room after a break in. The police unable to find the killer.
Exactly a year from the tragic day Dong-Ho, after driving his daughter to school, gets a morning call on his smart phone. The voice is of his dead wife Yeon-Soo talking to him as if in a their normal everyday situation (he had been drunk a year ago but didn’t seem to have watched a George A Romero movie then). Dong-Ho believing a sick prank call angrily gets out of his car searching for the caller and after locating a young woman he mistakenly believes to playing tricks (being a lawyer he suspects many a disgruntled enemy), suddenly realises the unreal truth. It is his wife on the other phone and talking about situations that happened on the day just before she was murdered in 2014. So before the tragic evil repeats itself, Dong-Ho in the present franticly warns his wife that a food delivery guy is a murderer and so must not allow him into their house. Such frantic conversations over a mobile network amidst this electrical anomaly happening both ends of 12 months apart. Dong-ho’s hope changing as might Yeon-Soo’s fate in time.
The Phone (2DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
May 26, 2018 Precision and the Aftermath
With concerning ‘glitches’ in modern technology it seems incredulous that intricate and finally tuned craftsmanship should succumb to banal fault devices. Only recently I read about Alexa disarmingly recording a family member’s private conversation and embarrassingly sending the recording to her employer. If though Alexa’s ‘evil’ laugh wasn’t bad enough. Alexa is a similar name to Resident Evil Code Veronica’s aristocratic bad girl Alexia and that the name Alexia is related to the reading disorder dyslexia. Where someone losing the ability to read words properly the complaint is called alexia. Maybe Alexa had a dyslexic moment relating to the above. Now considering the above and ‘glitchy’ technology if Alexa searched for knowledge about RE’s Alexia (hopefully not in a narcissistic manner) it would be virtuous, after her having sponged up the knowledge of Alexia’s awful use of an ancient virus from a queen ant, ‘to avoid problematic ideas of how to use her good power’. But maybe AI technology is quantum unpredictable and the human inventor pardoned (a.k.a. immune) from synthetic error similar to Pontius Pilate washing his hands. And tech devices can record, monitor, transmit and catalogue like no other.
The Phone however relates to such glitches that effects this intriguing story line. And I suppose a glitch with a good purpose. Similar to recent S Korean thriller movie ‘A Day’ (which I haven’t seen as yet) where the intricate plot device time loops in one day, The Phone puts a husband and wife into contact by the separation of one year in time and of the husband (in the present) trying to avoid his wife getting perceptively re-murdered in the past. The strange anomaly ‘glitch’ of a freak solar storm that obliges the contact medium across time by two smart phones (maybe Thor also the God of electricity is seeking true justice) whereas everyone else's phones periodically crackle, get fuzzy and generally annoy (to stop them talking to themselves in the past maybe). The plot harkens back to movie ‘Ditto’ there a romantic movie over an even larger period of time. But The Phone with its average beginnings does flow into a swift thriller. Its predictable within perpetual flux.
I certainly liked the moody electronic music score by Casker. A pity there doesn’t seem to be a soundtrack CD. The Phone to it’s similar titled ‘sister’ movie of 2002 ghost horror Phone, similarly features two Ji Wons; Ji Won Uhm in this and Ji Won Ha in Phone and Ditto.
The Mimic (2DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
May 15, 2018 Enter the World of the Mimic
Anything mind with reason mimics something in our world from now, before and tomorrow. Image symbols, celebrity invariance, politician’s discourse, musical notations, fashion trends, gender preference, cliches, words from immutable essence and things, man-god religions, transition patterns and of course Elvis impersonators. And even AI technology and video game worlds mimic a parent reality. Narcissistic, euphony and necessity transforming moving and mimicking the objects of love. And with The Mimic a ghost pattern replicating human trauma.
The plot is of a mythical creature that imitates the sound of human voices and of a family who adopt an abandoned girl they find alone in a local forest. The creature mimics not only sounds but also body forms. But the creature, with simplistic necessity, seems to crave the human energy it observes and adopts. Mutating negative human need and fear to itself. It absorbs a shallow version of human intelligence and entraps souls into a metaphorical lonely cave underworld.
There are suggestive sub plots The Mimic could bring into being than the mainly focused Shamanism triggered manifestation which haunts the local towns folk by mimicking certain receptive people. It’s often wondered when psychics contact the ‘dead’ do they actually contact the original spirit or a mimic? Or an elemental? Metaphysically could the mimic even be the original spirit like a human clone with imposed memories that adopts another's characteristics and being? That considering imitation and the One and the Many, which favours originality? Apparently according to Gnostic myth the body itself is a construct psychical form. And with DNA that can act like a radio receiver.
The dark photographic atmosphere is The Mimic’s strongest point with it’s haunting skies, dark forest and gothic fauna. As a Korean ghost movie it is a tread down ancient familiar territory but a with suggestive twist on previous ghost movies. The ghost isn’t the vengeful departed but something unfamiliar adopting its unknown energy to the living, an elemental spirit that has a limited AI type capacity that mimics and devours for companionship. To converse with it as a medium is futile as it would highly likely mimic and destroy the medium. As for a ghost movie there are still areas here in art that mimics repetitively (although our planet’s course of motion is thankfully repetitive). The Mimic does though provoke food for thought.
As One (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
February 25, 2018 Of One and All
With the present 2018 PyeongChang Winter games and watching the UK girls curling team events (I wondered if the curling ‘house’ centre symbolizes the inner citadel of Atlantis and of Atlas’s Ten kings?), I was inspired to watch this 2012 movie ‘As One’, based on a true event. I’ve mixed thoughts of competitive sport especially it meshed into politics and Big Money Power. Only recently I read, concerning an apocryphal Pythagorean theorizing, that the Olympian games epitomize humankind in three ways - those for business and profit, others with ambitions to win prizes and mostly an audience that observes the proceedings. Ethically relating to pleasure and pain, the good life and the goal of true happiness, where pure truth is deemed more profitable than ambition and desire for physical objects alone. And its distinct that competitive sport demands losers and winning for personal and cultural prestige. But surely sport skill’s vitality is for personal happiness in a specific window of experience (the acquired skill) than just objectifying temporary prizes and esteem. After the ‘win’, where next Columbus?
As One is unsurprisingly about ‘winners’, and a (quite melodramatic) theatre concerning mixed South and North Korean table tennis teams going for gold but more so a bond ship of two politically different mind sets competing together (as, too, in PyeongChang). And the characters of Jung Hwa (Ji-won Ha) and Bun Hui (Doona Bae) respectively of South and North Korea. At first certain characters from each camp don’t quite ‘hit it off’ (although begin to hit each other), but eventually bond by cultural and mutual concerns (in fact become really chummy by the end). Considering As One is a part bio-pic and of mature crucial concern, it’s also (ironically) very humorous. The sport commentators are constant comedy, the ‘ominous’ opponents caricatured like those unruly school kids you get in Korean movies like She’s On Duty. And that black background slow motion tournament scene at the centre finish...brought tears to my eyes (momentarily cured the dry eye syndrome).
Even if losing an Olympic medal, such humour in As One could help encourage endeavour. As One hopefully displays, I’m sure that even with melodrama and even a cliche of foul penalty play (invariably some ‘melodramatic’ penalty bits in Olympic Tournaments), the emotion and drama of these true life sports women encourages the love for unity towards a natural desire for peace and mutual human fortitude.
House of the Disappeared (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
February 2, 2018 A disappearing act (with positive consequences)
After 25 years of imprisonment, Mi-hee (Yun-jin Kim) returns to the large house where she once was accused of wrongful murder of her second husband and elder child. The horror of that fateful time indelible in her mind, her husband stabbed in the chest and her elder son dragged by ‘something’ beyond into the dark inkiness of an open basement door. After the police leave, an elder and ill Mi-hee is there left alone in the house, beginning to hear extraneous sounds drifting into her senses, children laughing, spirits of the dead stirring, the twenty five years of the past reemerging. Grabbing a knife Mi-hee screams for the madness to go away. But a beacon of sympathetic light emerges, a local priest Choi (Taec-yeon) ‘knocking on the door’ visits the house after hearing of Mi-hee’s release from prison, wishing to relinquish her from past guilt. As they talk priest Choi begins to understand Mi-hee may not have committed any past misdeeds, her sincerity and surety of her missing son taken by spirits of the house, so agrees to give valuable help to Mi-hee as he visits local establishments to investigate the house’s history and past occupants.
Alone in the house Mi-hee reflects. Married to her second husband Chul-joong (Jae-yoon Jo) after her first husband died of premature heart failure, Mi-hee had one elder son Hyo-je (Sang-hoon Park) also with hereditary health concerns. Of Catholic faith Mi-hee tells Hyo-je that he will be protected by God if he prays daily, hoping for a medical breakthrough. By her marriage to Chul-joong she also has a son Ji-won (Woo-rim Ko). All then moving and living together in the large gothic styled house. It was a happy time as Mi-hee cooked, looked after her children as they diligently attended school. But one day after Hye-ji and Ji-won had been reported to Mi-hee by a shopkeeper for stealing time on video game arcade machines, the sensitive shopkeeper perceives bad spirit presences in the house and later on another day tells Mi-hee. With disturbed reflections are other utmost concerns. Chul-joong could at times return home drunk after work, having flings with other women, something Mi-hee took in her stride. That time she had argued with Chul-joong at his wrongful conduct as he then drunkenly slammed the front door to temporally leave. But Mi-hee’s crucial grave remembrance was what had happened to her sons and husband. And her being imprisoned for it for 25 years.
House of the Disappeared (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
February 2, 2018 House of the dread
That one night when Mi-hee was grabbed from her bedroom door, no one was there. And Hyo-je locked in his room and Hi-hee, after franticly searching for his door key, enters to then see her son staring as if Mi-hee was unreal. What had Hyo-ji experienced just before and what on earth had taken him away in that dreaded basement?
With a gothic ambience and a large mansion house with the preverbal basement the source of the disappeared, what could surly go wrong? Of course a ghostly obvious, but a ghostly tale no doubt with an investigative thriller parallel (taken due care of by Taec-yeon’s priest character), the outcome here can be quite unexpected and challenge temporal logic. It’s not dark and grim to it’s objective, but symptomatic by positive resolve, albeit an unusual outcome, a divine suggestion. Its certainly a ghost movie to recommend to those who normally don’t like such but here could stipulate themselves to acknowledge such a genre. The house location, too, displays a metaphysical and metaphorical conundrum about limited perceptions towards all things between temporal and universal. I likened the house’s basement solid wall blocking the way to true realities (where Hyo-ji disappears), like ‘un-witnessed’ locked rooms of a house; the unseen rooms abstract forms of blocked knowledge towards a fuller recollection. Mi-hee certainly seems to be having this house calling the shots here. Opening those ‘doors’ and a bigger picture of reality emerges of the whole house (or ‘reality’), changing partial forms of ignorance/belief, fear and dread to recollection of ‘never changing’- blending into one instead of whole separate parts and the like. No parts - whole. (Or cyclic if preferred). Okay maybe Plato’s forms (or Aristotle’s universals) aren’t needed to understand the strange here (and they’re difficult as it is), but strange the juxtaposed time limbo ending to this movie may seem. There is a cause for concern, but that’s Mi-hee’s Act III life path in House of the Disappeared.
Overall a movie that tries to suggest hopelessness as a mirage or to confer there’s maybe something other than ‘bad’ in the matrix or beyond the curtain. Reality fixes us to limited patterns of rational, but the movies ‘open door to blocked mind’ evokes recollection of a fuller spectrum of what things are. Yun-jin portrays well especially as an aged women (makeup is excellent) with her younger self shown in flashbacks. This version includes photo cards for materialists.
Office (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
January 24, 2018 A VERY bad day at the office
Starting a new day as an intern office worker Mi-rye (Ah-sung Go) is shocked to hear by colleagues that her manager Mr Kim (Seong-woo Bae) had murdered his wife, mother and disabled child. Detective Joon-hoon (Sung-woong Park), questioning reluctant office workers, learns from each that Kim was a mild mannered and meticulous worker with good family values, had no prioritising covetous ambition for promotion. Kill anyone? He wouldn’t hurt a fly. But something made him finally snap and bludgeon his family to death. Concerned of his business reputation director Sang-gyu (Eui-sung Kim) persuades his chief colleague Jae-ill (Dae-Hwan Oh) to strongly admonish naive Mi-rye about telling the truth when she is last to be questioned by police. Reputation at stake Mi-rye is forced to give Kim also a good character reference. But such answers of positive qualities raise suspicion to Joon-hoon, that a pressurised staff are holding back on crucial information.
Later Mi-rye, advised to attend a board meeting by her assistant manager Ji-sun (Hyoun-Kyoung Ryoo) and happy to feel inclusive is again shocked, hearing the stress filled rages of director Sang-gyu around the board room, about plummeting sales targets, attendance records and shoddy personal commitment. Alongside an employee now accursed of murder. Each of her new workers berated for incompetence, grilled about weekend commitments and late evening shifts. Mi-rye, as a new intern finds herself in difficult waters. She wants to make a success at the business and puts extra hard work into her trial time. As did Mr Kim. Ji-sun and her co workers Chae-eun (Ha-young Lee) and Won-suk (Jung-min Park) assess Mi-rye’s overall qualities to whether she can work full time (and fit in) at the company. But Mi-rye’s enthusiasm is viewed suspicious and her friendly eager attitude, a ‘lack of intricate social skill’. Then a new intern is introduced - Da-mi (Soo-hyun Son) a well educated, socially blending and friendly asset that begins to worry Mi-rye’s future prospects. But Mi-rye isn’t alone. Sang-gyu fears for his company’s reputation and even that Kim could be lurking in the office building after a bad dream he had; Ji-sun stressed by her directors constant demands for perfection, Chae-eun and Won-suk’s anxious dissatisfied attitudes, all pitch forking out towards Mi-rye as if good work done was a poison not a virtue. Why had Mr Kim done what he did? And that large knife she discovers in her office drawer?
Office (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
January 24, 2018 An Unbefitting Suitability
Of the words detective Joon-hoon had echoed of what Kim had also recently told Mi-rye. That there are two types of people in the world - ones like Mr Kim and herself doing what is asked for and others of a more inconsistent divergent viewpoint. The left hand could even be the right one, vice versa. But out of all this the big worry was when Jae-Ill’s hung body fell through the ceiling of the board room at another important meeting. But Mi-rye is brave and determined to succeed as she works late at the offices of a food and drinks company.
After watching Office with its unsocial hiatus is enough for would be sales administrators to turn tide and sell the Big Issue. Regarded as a slasher movie there’s more tension and even ghostly menace than violence, although when violence hits the screen - it certainly does. But there is social substance to make this on par with Whispering Corridors, the pressures of systematic education and all that, but here a corporate Office environment and a barbed circle of overstressed individuals. People are ambitious and with social expectations, looking for an hexagon shaped personality to fit the recess. Mi-rye here is more rounded, sympathetic as was Mr Kim, so logically wouldn’t ‘fit in well’ with idiosyncratic mind set. My only misgiving here are the thriller killer exposition that such a ‘quiet considerate soul’ can be a ticking time bomb and mentally ill. Exasperated killer in ignorance here maybe, but this should be no generalization.
The social climate in Office relates to stress inducing irrationality due to demanding personal concerns. Ji-sun, Chea-eun and Jung-min alienating Mi-rye’s conscientious duty due to mutual social agreements about there own minor rebellious ambitions - ‘we don’t want three bags full, sir’, a collective retaining understanding of caution towards authority and power, so Mi-rye’s eagerness is viewed as positive but ignorant of the machinations of corporate blueprint. Mild mistrust sets in, which itself can distort mutual harmonious fellowship. Not that all offices are hierarchical systems thriving on ignorance at lower levels, to acquire obedience in ‘getting the job done’. But here Office stresses overworked people of all levels with no true solidarity just subscriptions to personal preference. In fact only Da-mi seemed to have the most rational in her character by wishing to befriend Mi-rye and salve her troubled subjectivity. An excellent thriller from a screenwriter that gave us The Chaser.
Like for Likes (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
January 15, 2018 Like attracted to like (a.k.a Love)
Although the title’s words harken back to the like minded ‘followers’ and ‘chorus’ of clever, popular Athenian sophists and orators of ancient Greece (or Greek philosopher Anaxagoras’s ‘all living things and their attractions of like to like’), likewise, the ‘Like’ amidst the double set of characters here suggest like minded ‘lovers’ and their objects of love, than the chorus of approving friends modern people can acquire through social media. Although here lovers that mirror the other with possible opposites (or maybe more so the ‘other halves’ relating to the amusing speech of Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium) by such the scene with Joo-Ran (Ji_woo Choi) and Seong-Chan (Joo-Hyuk Kim) as they sip their cans of beer in like synchronicity, possibly contemplating their personal differences. But wise motion towards lofty things are put on hold as modern love rules and our fumbling, woeful and humorous duets dance into dramatic situations of projected desperation, blunder, invariability, difference and personal fate.
Soo-ho (Ha-Neul Kang) a songwriter who being deaf after a car accident and a highly skilled lip reader, nevertheless, never finds his opposite love until fated to meet drama series producer Na-Yeon (Esom), but afraid she could reject him by his ‘defect’. Popular actor Jin-Woo (Ah-In Yoo) desired by many a chorus of fans after returning from military duty disputes with screenwriter Kyung-Ah (Mi-Yeon Lee) not only about him performing in her new drama, but also about the blood father of her child - as both held a past passionate relationship. Then there's the synchronising beer drinkers Seong-Chan, who runs a Japanese restaurant and ditched by his fiance shares his leased apartment with ‘out on a limb’ flight stewardess Joo-Ran.
As like scene cuts to like scene these mini ‘plays within a play’ amidst the whole no doubt display another (re)telling of the parts of love (or love’s poverty), sometimes succumbing to mild madness but mirroring the lofty ‘madness’ of Divine Love that pursuers of such Love crave the one noble virtuous thing - unfettered happiness with knowledge. Which sentimentally this film offers good mirth from Ji-Woo and Joo-Hyuk and a cast of splendid actors. Its a warm and friendly fuzzy film contrasted amidst modern social upheavals and dismissive coveted ploys. A gentle goodness with a dramatic signpost of methodical display for its followers to like and mimic perhaps.
The Silenced (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
December 12, 2017 Another dark ominous domicile
In 1938 at the time of Japanese occupation Ju-ran (Bo-young Park) enters a large gothic type ‘cathedral’ for convalescence at Kyeongseong sanatorium, to cure her ill health of TB. Ju-ran’s father sends her there fearing the disease after her mother had died. The institution is sponsored by a Japanese military academy and run by an amiable but oddly reassuring headmistress (Ji-won Uhm) who instructs the girls in good morals, physical exercise and to take peculiar daily medications to cure their ills, and when returned to good health two are frequently selected for the academy, bestowed upon them by Japanese military benefactor Kenji (Hee-seop Shim). Ju-ran is also given a Japanese name of Shizuko, as also other ‘inmates’ having alternative Japanese names. Ju-ran, a modestly quiet girl depressingly self uncertain of her health, is befriended by Yeon-doek (So-dam Park) an aspiring athletic at the school’s outdoor gymnastics, who due to Ju-ran’s fragility and ‘weirdness’, wishes to encourage her health. Another girl Yuka (Ye-ji Kong) harbours grave misgivings of the disappearance of a boarder also with a Japanese name Shizuko, who was recently ‘selected’. Yuko becomes curious why Ju-ran is also named Shizuko and also oddly impervious to pain. Yuka criticises Yeon-deok’s sudden indifference of Shizuko when befriending Ju-ran. Shizuko, Yuka and Yeon-deok had become close friends to the point of love and Shizuko’s sudden disappearance disturbs Yuka how Shizuko was also unable to feel physical pain (like Ju-ran’s now duplicate symptoms) and that something is very wrong about the ‘selection’ process. Due to this Ju-ran becomes the object of bullying at a private ‘secret garden’ meeting place. Why is Ju-ran odd and impervious to pain? Reasons somewhat connected to the absent Shizuko?
Later in a classroom a girl Kihara (Bo-bi Joo) is stricken by an angered fit when Ju-ran innocently asks a negative question of the whereabouts of Shizuko. Kihara lunges at Ju-ran and attempts to strangle her, then suffering an horrendous fit. Ju-ran later encounters Kihara who apologies for her misdeed but cannot understand why she’d done so. With contestant medication administered by the headmistress, Ju-ran begins to get further odd side effects - hotness, heaviness in her chest and lesser feelings of pain - all familiar to Yeon-deok and Yuka; the same symptoms of Shizuko before disappearing. Also Ju-ran begins to see apparitions of Shizuko and other girls begin to go ‘missing’.
The Silenced (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
December 12, 2017 Ju-ran’s hazardous experience
As mystery deepens Yeon-deok, eavesdropping a heated conversation between the headmistress and Kenji, discovers a dark secret of what’s really happening to girls at the sanatorium, that horrifies her to the soul’s core.
By the introductory overhead camera shots of the mountainous Kyeongseong forest and Ju-ran entering the opulent decor of the large sanatorium boarding school - its wide view dark wooden floors menacing and desirous at the same instant - you’re in no doubt that a rich, nostalgic K-horror awaits. Nostalgic by K-movie motifs of Whispering Corridors red gob stopper ‘treat’, an early indicator of the ‘Yeo-go-kuei-dam’ school horror series and by the visually rich gothic atmosphere, The Silenced is logical horror shifting genre type. But even though considering the Japanese occupation setting, I never suspected such an excessive outcome (not Yonggary...but). On the onset all this could suggest a haunting psychological out-of-comfort zone theatric by Ju-ran’s depressing ill health. But the ritual display of ‘flower’ medication and Ju-ran’s suspicions running riot due to her unusual medicinal ‘side effects’, an increasing biohazard picture ensues. The ‘ghost’ elements are progressive and logical considering what such medication would be doing to the ‘selected’ girl’s psychical minds, the supernatural juxtaposed by chemical nerve invasion. There are interesting subtle aspects, too, by Ju-ran and Yeon-deok’s relationship that amidst a strange environment the two girls, when naturally relating to one another at the lake scene, Ju-an’s ‘ill health’ is somewhat ‘cured’ - she doesn't cough up blood suddenly - to display that maybe the rich natural environment and friendship, the sense of freedom/belonging shifted Ju-an’s ill fixed mind towards happiness and true health.
But that sweet subtlety is fleeting as an inevitable darker end awaits, and if having no idea what’s to come, will surprise, shock (and most likely bring natural mirth to certain bits) by the excessive conclusion. The Silenced is a very good movie - if you like mystery K-horror types (Whispering Corridors, Yoga, Two Moons, The Cat and the like) you’ll like this. Albeit awarded honour as been bestowed, much rightful credit to the acting and screen play. The Silenced is an ominous theme that leans to satire and symbol (Ji-won’s ‘hanging’ motif suggestive of the Christ tabular motif in ‘Haunters’) and screen writer Hae-young Lee who gave us ‘Arahan’ its good to get.
The Truth Beneath (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
December 5, 2017 A Fierce Plight of Necessity (I)
Ambitious politician Jong-chan (Joo-hyuk Kim) and his supportive wife Yeon-hong (Ye-jin Son) suddenly find their teenage daughter Min-jin (Ji-hoon Shin) go missing after making her way to school. Jong-chan deduces it a mere school girl prank and prioritising his tough political campaign and power over family, Yeon-hong keeping up good wife appearances, tries to move calmly within circles of political scrutiny towards reasons for her daughter’s sudden absence. Consistently surrounded by her husband’s strong opposition candidate Jae-soon No (Eui-seong Kim) the latter’s entourage puts uncertain ‘conspiratorial’ belief to Yeon-hong that her missing daughter is some sort of political subterfuge on No’s behest. Unable to oblige Yeon-hong’s misgivings, the police inspector investigating Min-jin’s disappearance and Jong-chan are both tight lipped about No. But as days pass Yeon-hong’s serious concern soon turns to abject paranoia as she eventually learns from Mi-ok (Soo-hee Kim), a school friend of Min-jin, that her daughter was being violently bullied at school. Yeon-hong’s tenaciously personal investigation gets ever muddied as she additionally learns of odd inconsistencies of Min-jin’s school grades; Min-jin’s angry words and violent pictures of her home life in a personal diary and a cryptically woeful song Min-jin wrote with Mi-ok, all interplay great suspicion to Yeon-hong that her daughter isn’t the person she thought she knew. And when unearthing Min-jin and Mi-ok’s grave wrong upon two other’s ignorant plight, a massive dark revelatory secret puts Yeon-hong’s dignity, human trust and life into white hot turmoil. Especially when Min-jin is found dead in remote woodland.
Superficially said - a mystery whodunit than political scandal its chief expression here is personal human absurdity and revenge. And the absurd truth? A kooky ambiguous simile might shed some light. A prison officer in Silent Hill Downpour in a ghostly memory to protagonist Murphy Pendleton tells him ‘if you tell the truth Murphy, you don’t have to remember anything’. Quite wise perhaps. But in the absurdity of life a media campaign stymie could emerge where ‘quotes like this could be the reason for Alzheimer's disease’. Well that's absurd of course just like in The Simpson's Sideshow Bob cheating in a voting campaign with supporting votes from dead people and pets - but absurdity is key to The Truth Beneath.
The Truth Beneath (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
December 5, 2017 A Fierce Plight of Necessity (II)
The Truth Beneath is a miasma of reckless necessity on Yeon-hong’s part as she desperately tries to find her daughter, investigating reluctant attitudes of indifference and hypocrisy from those around her and her ‘fight’ against husband, moody school teenagers, political aids and educators, that seem hived in some way to foil her plight, as if Yeon-hong’s fate was to be plunged into a dark deadly maze to battle the ‘Minotaur’ in the guise of fragments of said people and their imitative evils. Jong-chan’s deeds are of marital dishonour, parental neglect and a priority of corruptive political ambition over good will. Min-jin loathing her rich status due to isolation by other school kids and bullying and Mi-ok hating that her father works as a driver for Min-jin’s father. Its a grim jealous avenue where ignorance and fallacious characters are concerned, coveting false power and unhealthy desires and ‘victims’ having futile reparation by mimicking the worst weapon of social media trends - ‘revenge por~n’. And by negative jealous ricochets of sophisticated upbringing upon the less privileged Mi-ok, her dad and siblings, induce unnecessary misgivings about wealth and poverty - leading to treacherous unjustified interplay, riddled by unhealthy desires for revenge - a confused hateful jealousy that mirrors, but is excessively worse, the stupidly tame but initial wrong. Its all like using a blowtorch to quell a camp fire instead of wise foresight. Only Yeon-hong temporally holds on to sanity, until succumbing to her final broken choice. In other words a bit like The Simpson’s when the going gets tough.
It’s a worthy film and wouldn’t be a K-movie if all was people perfect. Ye-jin is certainly challenged as a reckless woman doing what any mother would do for the love of their child. But the cruel truth is a poison in this case. By the unfolding plot and fast paced editing Chan-wook Park soon comes to mind (a ‘revenge’ movie), Kyoung-mi once a student beneath PCW. The fast plot fastens the senses to its concerns and with a mirror of blithe ironic cruelty for it’s finality. At times brutal and although not exactly The League Of Gentlemen or The Simpson's episodes ‘Mayored to the Mob’ and ‘Sideshow Bob Roberts’, it’s reality bends to caricature idiosyncratic. Most disturbing though are the ‘walk on parts’ of irrational cute tech toys with probing eye cameras. Is The Eye of ignorance looking upon knowledge, or visa versa?
Misbehavior (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
November 27, 2017 Oh not to misinterprete...
At a boys school HyoJoo (Ha-nuel Kim), a molecular science teacher is requested as a replacement tutor due to a colleague’s maternity leave. Despondent that added work time could strain her already difficult home life, reluctantly obliges to the job. But then a young spirited chemistry teacher HaeYoung (In-young Yoo) swoops into the scene taking charge of HyoJoo’s main tenured teaching post. HaeYoung being the daughter of the school’s board chairman (Geung-young Lee), then puts uncertainty onto HyoJoo’s future career. Due to late working hours HyoJoo’s lazy writer boyfriend (suffering F Scott Fitzgerald’s Anthony Patch syndrome) waits for HyoJoo to return home to prepare his meals. By dispassionate cold reserve and constant friction HyoJoo is left alone when her boyfriend decides to end their ten year relationship. Bitterly aggrieved HyoJoo then discovers in a school room Haeyoung in a sexual relationship with her class student JaeHa (Won-guen Lee), who studies professional ballet. With calculated action HyoJoo scolds HaeYoung about the tryst and warns she’ll not reveal her fatal wrongdoing as long as HaeYoung helps ensure HyoJoo’s future career. But HyoJoo, due to relationship woes and life’s refuting antipathy, finds herself impassioned by the young dancer JaeHa, as she promotes his dance training.
‘Misbehaviour’ is a volatile arena parading the acts of the wrongdoer. Unable to reign in reason over desire two school tutors, harbouring conflicting desires, covertly compete ambitiously over the handsome student JaeHa. But although HyoJoo, a frustrated tutor with quiet apathetic desperation falls into a desirous trap with a student, the plot from the onset emphasises a human’s fatalistic worth seeming chipped away along the story progression. HyoJoo’s ten year home life with her boyfriend hits the rocks, she’s reluctantly forced to take on a temp replacement teaching position and by HaeYoung, being the daughter of the school’s board chairman (visually bringing to mind Miraculous Ladybug’s Gabriel Agreste and RE Degeneration’s Frederic Downing), is coaxed by work colleagues to ‘butter up’ to HaeYoung as a means to solidify her unpredictable teaching job. However, HyoJoo despises such condescension of self-effacing flattery. On the surface, HyoJoo seems quietly amenable with surrounding acts of inconsideration from HaeJoo, her boyfriend and even JaeHa as the plot thickens. But its logical to sense the peculating anger beneath her exterior self management.
Misbehavior (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
November 27, 2017 the good and bad behaviour
HyoJoo harbours incensed depths that quickly surface at the slightest negativity, that culminates into a final treacherous act. HyoJoo is certainly no mere victim to circumstance; in her private world everybody seems hell bent on shaming themselves, being dishonourable and imprudent. But her decision to mirror the wrong around her, due to her anger at fatalistic misgivings, just drags HyoJoo into further error. Although deplorable logic the latter part of HaeYoung and JaeHa both display negatively contrasting, capricious and frivolous attitudes are so difficult to realistically accept in the circumstances, makes the ending seem too scripted. Almost pitched to provoke a potboiler ending. Unless meant to pander to dark sensibilities or to over concern trivial situations of ‘real relations’ that have no relation to the horror here.
Plato’s Socrates is famous for a rational argument that the wrongdoer is worse off than the wronged, and only an ignorant person would do wrong, not one with knowledge of good (to peruse this is Plato’s ‘Gorgias’). In Misbehaviour the wrongdoer fractures into three. And if according to Socrates one who is wrong (in the soul) should seek punishment from Justice like a sick man of the body would a doctor (I have uncertainties about such rational though) such ‘punishment’ could be deemed meaningless if this were the case by Misbehaviour’s close. Of course the wrong here is not metered by Justice. But the question here, is it the playful contact to sexuality that is the source of the evil? Or most likely ignorance and indignant jealousy? Socrates apparently had an erotic tryst with an Athenian politician Alcibiades, but refuted passion for his love of wisdom (Philosophy - PhiloSophia). Where knowledge of what is good is better in the long run, not pleasures, power or prestige feeding ‘good’. Here maybe persuasion (or suggestion) cajoles a sort of mock puritanical convention that bad people molester a young ‘vulnerable’ student. But who is wrong? Is it Miss Behaviour, Mr Behaviour or maybe Master Behaviour, as an orchestra is lead by a conductor, a ships crew by a captain and a movie by a director? And what is truth of passion? The Incarnation of Sexuality might answer.
Ha-neul had reservations about her role as HyoJoo, but the movie is a good source for discussion. But ‘good’ by HyoJoo’s inner imprisonment? A victim suffers infinitely until reasoning knowledge instead of ignorance.
One Step (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
November 24, 2017 Chromesthesia to the rescue?
Sandara Park of 2NE1 as SiHyun suffers amnesia after suffering a fatal car accident, which also took the life of her mother. As fate might have it SiHyun also harbours a condition called projective chromesthesia, where auditory sense perception involuntarily evokes ‘painful’ coloured orbs into her visual sight by specific sound keys. To lessen her pain SiHyun wears sound canceling headphones to block out any intruding outdoor music due to her visual malady. But a mental tune quiz’s her - a fragmented unknown song tune keeps popping into her head. SiHyun phoning a radio show where guest musician JaeSuk (DongIn Cho), who can pridefully identify tunes by a few bars, hums him her illusive song. By discerning the song SiHyun believes she’ll overcome her amnesia and chromesthesia. But JaeSuk is bewildered in identifying such a tune. SiHyun is grieved and hangs up, JaeSuk also as he attacks his personal CD collection attempting to locate the song that threatens his reputation for ‘I can name that tune’. Not giving up easily JaeSuk, struggling as a song writer, locates and contacts SiHyun hoping to understand her full reason for calling the radio show. When both meet at JaeSuk’s studio, SiHyun reveals her visual peculiarity due to the car accident, the loss of her mother and her belief her ‘lost’ song may help. Determined, JaeSuk seeks agreement from SiHyun to encourage her to listen to music again.
One Step, synonymous to a one episode K-drama has a simple partial theme of braving fears head on. One step at a time (although more to courage regarding Plato’s Laches) parallels colour, music and light that suggests more Hypnos than Wisdom herself. A girl ‘asleep’ from reality but perhaps released from her mind prison by Wisdom’s prism and key harmonics? Anyway SiHyun takes tentative steps to health to overcome fears her placid ignorance grips her with, by JaeSuk’s maybe irritating but helpful persistence teaching SiHyun to bravely listen to music again and not fear her imposing orbs and truly understand her ‘unknown’ song. As most things symbolic this is more particulars partaking the invisible universal; sound, colour, shapes, abstract and mind sensate an ignored relative nature, that brings a young woman to despair her imposing vision anomaly (too much Worry News TV?). A bang to the head, a separation, maybe prescribed drugs, disco lights and a caring musician all brought together to fathom out a girl’s forgotten memory. Truth though maybe just around the corner?
Socialphobia (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
January 23, 2017 Down in the Trolldoms
Socialphobia concerns two police cadet students JiWoong (Byun Yo-han) and YongMin (JooSeung Lee) who with a number of social network friends become annoyed at the attitude of a blogger named ReNa (YoonKyeong Ha) and of her ‘cruel’ online remarks about the death of her ex soldier boyfriend. Angered and demanding an apology, Jiwoong and YongMin discover ReNa’s true name and address and, along with video blogger YangGe (JunYeol Ryu), nine miffed youths make their way to ReNa’s apartment to demand humble apologies - YangGe streaming the situation to all and sundry online and to ReNa herself. But entering ReNa’s apartment the nine are horrified to discover ReNa dead. Convinced of suicide JiWoong however begins to suspect ReNa’s death suspicious - so like wanna be detectives all seek out the truth about ReNa’s untimely demise.
In our modern world most humans are fastened to a some sort of digital screen, reaching into a cyber world of multi communications and options. Enriched by such, alas the age old spirit of enmity forever lurks within, and although mostly benign in many, can in a despondent and desperate few become evoked like a jealous possessive spirit - antipathy, channeled as negative mirrored empathy about self worth, victim hood and revenge. Solemn self mirrored identity. If a sports/pop star or student gets grief from on line trolls, then such poster is exposed by their peers as an ‘evil’ bad egg within social network sites, the occasional out come - the wolves come out to play. The worst case scenario is that sometimes people can lose their lives over inane and pointless things. In either opinionated perspectives, each are the mirror of the other and only ignorance prevails.
The plot of Socialphobia crucially mirrors a perpetual trend - that the ‘outsider’, ‘radical’ or ‘intelligent victim/oppressor’ is a problem to be solved. Or someone who is ‘different’ or fiercely opinionated. No doubt a collective of positive, loving creativity and true minded people can make a better world, but replicating the ‘evil oppressor’ ain’t the way to do compassion. Pot calling the kettle black in the social network age. But a society trapped by its good intentions (smart isn’t always smart) can puzzle certain people to antagonistic criticism that wheeled without self restraint can lead to obsessive and unfortunate repercussions.
SeokJae Hong’s decent movie brings attention to true self wider imagination, and not to knee jerk opinion at the latest fear.
Uhm Jung Hwa Mini Album - The Cloud Dream of the Nine(2)Our Price: US$14.99List: US$19.99Save: US$5.00 (25%)1 people found this review helpful
January 21, 2017 D.I.S.C.O. course for the Eight and Nine
Been off radar some time (and with GPS that takes a bit of doin) due to having no job and proper Internet. Finally got a smart phone with 4G Internet so 2017 should be more up and running. Looking better. As, too, this year for Jung Hwa in music mode with new album ‘The Cloud Dream of the Nine’ for K-pop 90s nostalgia (along with 2017 albums of SES and Hyori Lee)...even more better (a black bean dish cooked up by SNSD could make it perfect). I came across JungHwa’s new electro dance song ‘Watch Me Move’ on MC Eddy’s Arirang show ‘Pops in Seoul’ via Satellite TV (careful with a Pops in Seoul Special, guys..that acronym) and so didn’t hesitate to get this album - thanks to Eddy and his crew there.
A mini pack of CD/slip case and booklet its a modest 90s packaging. Of the four songs I guess having a Human League synth bent, ‘Watch Me Move’ draws to me the most.
TCDOTN though has an esoterically symbolic suggestion of spheres in the title (as like a Mirror Ball where if Alice in Blunderland were a lad of nine, s/he could have played soccer with One and the four winds) and above title coincides with me recently reading the Nag Hammadi scriptures (a collective of lost Egyptian Gnostic sacred writings found in a jar by the river Nile at Nag Hammadi in 1945) concerning origins of The Pleroma (fullness) spirit/mind as emanative celestial light Aeons/Spheres (hierarchal light luminaries from The Great Invisible Silence...The One) including an Hermetic ascent dialogue ‘The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth’ hence...couldn’t resist the DISCO ball bit! For any religious inclined (and I’m just a doubtful ignorant seeker), the Nag Hammadi mythos (Out of Egypt) collective is worth reading (not all hell and damnation, more about remembering who we truly are (unfearful remembering hearts) - ‘fallen sparks’ from Wisdom/Pistus Sophia wishing spontaneously to ‘loftily bring forth her partner by herself’ upsetting a jealous Lion head creator God/Son of chaos (the Dark Brother of Jesus Anointed?). Although what ‘Reality’ this Mid Platonic Pleroma is (shouldn’t we just settle for G-Dragon or a Marvel comic hero?) there’s many ‘Goddess’ pop stars (Aeons?) and celestial symbolic ritual pop and maybe mirror reflected here in Jung Hwa’s disco Queen of the Night, uniting light (Self remembrance of Spirit) and dark (Mere Body Perception)?
Fullness Cloud Dream Nine? Well, in 2017 (Monad) people need hope, knowledge, music and love and Jung Hwa is here! Hope/Love within.
KARA CUPID SPECIAL DVD (2DVD + Photobook) (Korea Version)
KARA CUPID SPECIAL DVD (2DVD + Photobook) (Korea Version) DVD Region All(1)Our Price: US$39.99List: US$51.99Save: US$12.00 (23%)1 people found this review helpful
October 29, 2015 Shooting Kara's love arrows at our hearts
For a Kara showcase this Cupid Special is probably one of the best of Kara's talk style collections that's been released on DVD. The girls are just wonderful to watch and with other various Kara songs amidst the interviews, you get a full package of goodness if you appreciate the Kara ladies. Other Kara interview DVDs have been excellent, but this DVD set is so vivid and colourful and picture qualithy is excellent for DVD, and Kara's good personalities just shine (even when they are modestly embarrassed for some reason).
I so far have only watched DVD 1 of the two disks but I'm convinced to recommend this highly for what you get. On the interviews there are close ups galore of each Kara member and the shy violets with plenty of glamorous gusto and steel are funny and delightful to the core. Kara have come a long way, as have many K-pop groups, and their modest character and fan appreciation is very admirable. At times you can get a nostalgic twinge when Kara perform their earlier songs that were once with Nicole and Jiyoung (and that's a good thing, memories and remembering and that) but new gal YoungJi is just Greeaat! A dynamic personality that will constantly impress as the years go on and her confidence is billowing nicely by the day. As for Gyuri, SeungYeon and Hara - their parents must be right proud of these ladies. Keep the positive vibes Kara!
So, don't hesitate with Kara Cupid Special , it's a gift to treasure and you'll Love it. Along with the DVDs and slip case there is included a slim booklet with photos.
Dream High 2 (DVD) (6-Disc) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version)
Dream High 2 (DVD) (6-Disc) (English Subtitled) (KBS TV Drama) (Korea Version) DVD Region 1, 3, 4, 5, 6(2)Our Price: US$53.99List: US$70.99Save: US$17.00 (23%)1 people found this review helpful
October 28, 2015 Big A Little A bouncing B
So finally watched Dream High 2 on this Korean DVD set. No doubt Dream High 2 is as strong in vital spirit as the first DH. The drama is highly charismatic and the songs are good (Hello to Myself, We Are the B) with an overall message that is simple, sweet but wise. It also goes without saying that the talent is good here. Ailee and Sistar's Hyolyn are two good and absolutely charming singers and GoT7's JB is likewise a really nice chap with nifty dance skills. It was good to see 'graduated' After School gal SoYoung Yoo here too, weaving some mystical magic as SoonDong. 2AM's JinWoon is very animated as Kirin's bold rock hopeful YoonJin and JBs rival (G-minor rebellion or what! And with Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water riff, say no more....in a certain cast light I thought that maybe YooJin looked a wee bit like Ritchie Blackmore...or was that some of SoonDong's magic on me?). I remember SoRa Kang from '4th Period Mystery' and as lady star struck Hae-sung for JB is sure good in achieving her dream. Hmmm...considering both JB and YooJin's electric anime hairstyles I'm surprised a Dream High anime of some sort hasn't happened yet.
So yep, I enjoyed Dream High 2, its characters endearing, funny and the show a blast, with added surprises such as the unexpected 'Ouch!' basketball bit with principal JungWan (HaeHyo Kwon) and vocal teacher TaeYeon (YeoJin Choi) character eccentricity and her, eh?, karaoke singing (ear muffs at the ready). Psy as a boot camp army trainer for the Kirin song challenge 'failures' of the B grade rookies and Hyolyn's singing parts with singer JiSoo Kim as HongJoo which are pleasing and sweet. HongJoon also doing an Elton John skit at one point (the glasses did it). Mentioning a TaeYeon, I thought raven haired rebel student Seul (YeonJoo Jung) looked somewhat like SNSD's Taeyeon...although Seul a more Terminator put the boot in version. What also with Kahi (ohoo she's so svelte!), Ji Yeon (who Rian here should have a Rolls Royce cuz its good for her voice) and JYP's zany English teacher this is quite a funky vibe.
As mentioned the plot and message about not giving up on a dream desire is universal. The love for music and dance (especially without restrictions) is a reflection of the motion of Life that is open but simultaneously hidden. And DH2's story wins over concerning that anyone's Dream can be fulfilled by positive optimism, a strong sense of self worth along with sincerity..and yes enjoyable hard work. DH2 - enjoyed!