Reviews written by numinair
Rules of Dating (DVD) (2-Disc) (Korea Version)2 people found this review helpful
November 16, 2006 Wronging Girl in Red Dress
One recent weekend I decided to watch "Bungee Jumping of Their Own" and this one, "Rules of Dating"...two romantic dramas that I would sit back and chill out to..wow, did I certainly get some surprises! But, this is why we love Korean films, right?
Han Jae-rim and Go Yun-hui's film (it reads "To do or not to do", though, on the opening subtitling) isn't an easy film and doesn't really heed to the rules of conformity that you get with normal drama rom-coms. In fact, some people could dislike this film due to the main character's off center attitudes to romance and love, and some negative sexual content. Still, it is film expression and remembering this you could get something out of it. But, 4 star credits to Hae-Ill Park (as Yu-rim) and Gang Hye-jung (as Hong) in their superb acting and handling such fractured characters, and for keeping some healthy humour in there, contrasting the negative script content. Genuinely, I really hope these two go far, as Hae-Il surely will by "The Host" and continually good movies of Hye-jung's ("Love Phobia"). Also credit to the direction and debate about crucial elements where relationships can be made awkward in difficult places (its difficult to find a good "right" relationship at the best of times); this film being a tale of two school teachers within a government school building.
The film's main focus is about a male English school teacher (Yu-rim) who constantly demands passionate relations with a shy fellow school worker (Hong) who the latter was once also expelled from her own school, as a student, for having apparent false relations with an older teacher. This expulsion sparks instant compassion for Hong as it seems she had been 'wronged' by this older teacher's attitude, but this is seemingly played out as history repeating itself as the story between Hong and Yu-rim progresses. Also, each of them already have opposite gender relationships currently on going. For a drama this does have strong adult themes and the male lead is a very difficult guy to sympathize with by his demanding ego, where he even resorts to "a really bad thing" with Hong at one point on a school day outing. No flowers or chocolates here, I'm afraid, he's like a bullet train at top speed. Many a film goer is going to dislike this expressive arrogance. Luckily, the script allows for Yu-rim to have a contrasting nature in his concerns for Hong's past, when she had been ridiculed by the elder teacher and of her expulsion.....it slightly makes Yu-rim a bit more lovable (although it doesn't stop him rudely rummaging through her personal things when he stops at her flat). The girl's past is also suspect and the end result can leave a sour taste in the mouth after you get to those closing credits where "just desserts" ring in your ears. Don't want to say more here, but maybe if Yu-rim observed the DVD cover and Hong's red dress, he wouldn't have used his own green light motivation too much!
Overall, I think this film is somewhat in the middle of arty and a standard romance drama, in maybe the same category you could place Korean film dramas of Oh Seok-geun's "Love is a Crazy Thing" (excellent one this! Actress Jeon Mi-seon is wonderful and one to look out more for in the future!) and Hong Sang-soo's "Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors" (yes, absolutely, its a classic!). See what you think if you haven't seen it yet. It does have some good dry and warming humor, also, and these two chalk and cheese couple produce romantic interludes between the lust and intrigue.
Try this if you like Korean films : "You Are My Sunshine", "Green Chair", "Love is a Crazy Thing", "Bungee Jumping Of Their Own", "Asako In Ruby Shoes" or "Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors"
Coma (English Subtitled)(OCN TV Series)3 people found this review helpful
November 13, 2006 A Very Atmospheric Hospital
"Voice" and "Apartment" were in my own Top 10 until I began to watch this lately and it sure has changed the list. Although the DVD cover seems to depict a standard hospital drama and it being a TV series not a film, don't be deceived - the whole series packs all the Asian Horror elements you would expect in a movie horror and more - in every way. The hazy and haunting shots of the dark hospital at night, with its storm ridden outside backdrops and its blue lit silent empty corridors, make it seem as if the building itself was in some sort of coma, reviewing the people in it as its own dark memories.
Coma, though, does pull the usual cliches from Asian horrors in general, but due to its good story, excellent pace and overall production quality, I can forgive this swatch pallet of inclusives, as its one excellently honed TV drama. This production has a very intriguing plot, extremely excellent atmosphere and camera art (I cannot stress that enough, it really is the best I have seen yet), spot on pacing, excellent cast with Young Jin Lee (Memento Mori) and Se Eun Lee (Bunshinsaba) returning to ghost horror with an heady mix of excellent actors in all - it would be crazy to miss this one.
"The Girl With The Grudge/Ringlet In Her Hair" does return here, however, to make more cameos, and obvious visual references are used from "Ring", "Grudge", a bit of "The Tale of Two Sisters" and maybe even some atmospheric bits from the video game "Silent Hill" - considering wheel chairs, bleeding walls (well on the menu intro anyway) and the fact that its set in a dark hospital. What makes it though, is Coma's five episodes featuring one of the main character viewpoints to each episode, revealing more of its mystery as the story unfolds, until all 5 characters complete the end revelation.
If you liked "Apartment", "Cinderella" and "Voice" I can definitely recommend you get this right away! But be warned, if you really don't like hospitals, it may not be for you!
Bungee Jumping of Their Own (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
October 31, 2006 Byung Hun-Mad About the Girl?
Of all the Eun Joo Lee movies she as been in, definitely, for me, "Lover's Concerto" will be the best film she has ever been in - I love it beyond its credits and kudos! (Sadly, I wished she could have made more marvellous films, considering her premature death). Bungee Jumping, is a very sweet and touching movie many will like, and at heart leaves a good positive message...but its certainly a strange oddity of a film that may leave some people puzzled by its message concerning the relationship of the two main characters. The film's brave, yeah, but if I loved a girl once upon a time and later found myself in the circumstances Byung Hun faced at the end, I would find that one Mighty Hiccup (arf) in Heaven's Scheme of Things, for sure. I realise its the soul we should love more in another, but 'seeing' that love again as a visual constant, is to compliment that person. But, maybe it has to be something opposite of that person to be considered to be a truth of a love. The ending, too, may have been befitting, but certainly not ideal.
Still, Bungee has a really wonderful charm to it and I certainly like this film a lot, Eun Joo is as lovely as ever, too, (where, though, was that scene where she looks at her reflection in the spoon with one eye closed...which was cute in a film still I saw of her, but didn't see her close her one eye in the actual film) and Byung Hun plays a very likable character throughout (apart from when he's going nuts trying hard to grasp how Eun's character was not quite expected by her 'return'). If you want a more unusual, slightly radical, romantic film (and I watched "Rules of Dating" the night before this....another leftfield approach to romantic drama!) go for this, but like "Rules of Dating", this isn't going to be the usual romance drama couples generally appreciate eating their chocolates too.
My Girl (English Subtitled)(SBS TV Series)3 people found this review helpful
October 23, 2006 A highly blessed My Girl!
Just finished watching My Girl the weekend and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The full cast are blessed with magic angel dust doing this and both Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae are......(trying to find new word here).....smashing! Look forward to seeing Da Hae (all in fact!) in other shows, films etc.
I read recently Si Yeon Park hoped that her character Seo-Hyun would be thought of as a real baddie by viewers, concerned that she had played her role well. Actually, I thought her character was played just right considering Seo-Hyun was really a decent girl, just appreciatively despairing at Gong Chan's alternative emotions for Yoo Rin. Looking forward to seeing her in "The Fox Family".
Can't help thinking though that maybe Gong Chan and Jung-Woong playing tennis a lot were, (subconsciously?) considering Seo Hyun? Well, ya never know, playing tennis was the way they generally tried to get Yoo Rin out of their system, temporally (permanently would be impossible!)...and these two guys might have (temporally, remember) considered an alternative outcome with all the stress Yoo Rin could give them. Tennis, Seo Hyun....maybe its me! (The writer's humour, maybe?)
I'll shut up! Its a great series and I couldn't agree more that it is highly recommended to watch. Thought that there were some minor loose ends though at the finish (no spoilers, but...secretary...brother...you guys who watched this know what I mean?) With this edition's present price I think it would also be a wise choice now. Go on, buy this at a cheap cost, you will be blessed...and what with Christmas not too far away, you could give it to your girl (or guy) as a present...maybe included with a snowball shaker.
Dasepo Naughty Girls (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korean Version)(5)Our Price: US$20.99List: US$27.99Save: US$7.00 (25%)2 people found this review helpful
October 16, 2006 FANtastic Service Dasepo Style
This film is a challenging fantasy comedy satire surrounding the lives of school students in a free for all school based on a Korean manhwa (or manga) comic with a visually surreal style and is a very highly entertaining movie. Its high octane comedy features a mix of Japanese Anime, Korean high school jinks, 1960's psychedelica with an added dash of Lemony Snickets (a one eyed Cyclops is one of the kids!). It has great pace, style and a very funny script that should entertaine many people to come. Its a brave film, too, and will be viewed as another expression concerning the tough Korean education system (like the "Yeogo Gwedam" or "Once Upon a Time in High School") but with comedy satire instead of horror or politic. Dasepo Girl is also a musical of sorts, there being a number of character singing songs throughout, but not enough, I think, to suggest its a complete comedy musical. There is a good catchy opening theme (featuring some dancing psychedelic 60's girls) that gets you straight into the surreal mood of this pretty crazy film.
The main character played by young actress Ok-Bin Kim (Voice Letter) plays her part wonderfully as the povety stricken girl and she seems to have added yet another good movie to her resume. In the dance scene she certainly knows how to shake her thang! All the cast shine really well, too, and help give the film its zestfull atmosphere.
Although the DVD cover suggests promiscuous shenanigans of free sex, don't expect an high octane comedy like "Sex is Zero", but more of a film with subtle titilation and suggestive overtones played with farcical comedy scenes as it main ingredients. Its a tame pantomime type of sex comedy than a full on sex comedy! (So you won't necessarily have to hide the DVD under the bed when you get it!). Its rather mild considering its subject matter and although it seems to tackle the manhwa's controversial sub issues successfully, it deliveries them with comedy and irony in a lively style that won me over! Its a really fun film to watch and the cast and crew must have really enjoyed the whole jazz of the experience in making it. One scene with Ok-Bin's character and a male school girl cross dresser will be the talk of this movie, methinks, and its this highlight plus many other funny scenes that will recommend it in future.
Well, who is this film for? Considering all the comedy and the slapstick anime type visuals and it being based on a Korean manhwa, certainly for anime fans and fans of the comic, certainly those who like "Sex Is Zero", "See You After School" and "Conduct Zero", but maybe also for those who have had a romance go wrong (or watched too many saad moovies) as this funny, creatively zestful (certainally bonkers) film will change your spirits. Go on, give it a try....you know you want to! And what ever happens, I'm sure you will at least be whistling/singing (screaming) that catchy tune afterwards. Enjoy!
Apartment (DVD) (Korea Version)1 people found this review helpful
September 18, 2006 An APT Production!
Although it could be easy to think of APT as another "Ring and the Clone" type of film in its style, (well, somebody had to use that pun!) first and foremost I will say that this is a very worthy ghost movie and certainly recommended to fans of Ahn Byung Ki and Asian horror movie fans in general. Not the expected gem I was hoping for, but, if you liked ABK's other films, certainly get this one. "Phone" for me is still the best of his directed movies, and APT does have top drawer acting, pacing, lighting, style and excellent art production values and overall is a very well made film.
There will be some talk about Grudge type sounds used in this film, but in this case I thought they were used in a clever meaningful way. Not merely used to create a scare. I think Ahn Byung Ki must have decided to play tounge in cheek with the Ring/Grudge style anyway with APT, as one character proves within the film (you will have to see it to find out!).
Sadly, though, the film is a bit too predicatable in its final outcome (probably more so than "Cello"?) and the ending was a bit too blunt for me - if the script had more depth matching the excellent film making, acting etc., it would have made APT and excellent movie. I hope that Ahn Byung Ki ghost film number five exceeds this one, but this film did prove positive with me in certainly looking forward to another of his creativley styled ghost films! I certainly enjoyed this ghostly romp!