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Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits

Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits

Dir. Park Chan-kyong

Odeon Covent Garden


Monday 10th November 20:30

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Kundo: The Age of The Rampant

Kundo: The Age of The Rampant

London Odeon West End


Thursday 6th November 19:00

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Moebius

Moebius

Dir. Kim Ki-duk

Odeon Covent Garden


Friday 14th November 18:30

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Han Gong-ju

Han Gong-ju

Dir. Lee Su-jin

Odeon Covent Garden


Saturday 8th November 16:00

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Korean film
Korean Film News

  

Korean Films at the 58th BFI London Film Festival 

(11th September 2014) 

 We are proud to let you know that four Korean films are in this year’s 58th BFI London Film Festival! Find out more with the information below:

  1. A Girl at My Door (directed by July Jung)

Debate section: Presents films that rush headfirst and unafraid into some of the stormiest issues of the day. The films in Debate are an invitation to discuss, to argue and to think about the unquiet world outside the movie theatre. -Edward Lawrenson

Synopsis:  A cop with a drink problem is re-assigned to a small backwater town only to discover that the main problem there is alcoholism, leading to an explosive climax. - Kate Taylor 

 

  2. Hill of Freedom (directed by Hong Sangsoo)

Laugh section: From laugh-out-loud through to romantic comedy to dry and understated humour in all its forms. -Leigh Singer

Synopsis:  Hong Sangsoo returns with this smart comedy of foreign manners, where a Japanese man searches for the Korean girl of his dreams, only he doesn’t know where she is and can only speak a little English. - Kate Taylor

 

   3. A Hard Day (directed by Kim Sung Hoon)

Thrill section: Nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenalin pumping and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Synopsis: A crooked cop’s bad day goes from worse to hellish when a hit-and-run accident leaves him with a corpse on his hands. - Damon Wise

         

   4. The Satellite Girl & Milk Cow (directed by Chang Hyung-Yun)

Family section: Includes titles from all over the world to suit all ages and tastes. This year has been a strong year for animation and is reflected in the Family Gala programme. Satellite Girl and Milk Cow from South Korea for something a little different.

Synopsis: A bizarre trio of heroes ward off evil in this enjoyable animated tale from Korea. - Justin Johnson

 

  Eduardo Noriega Joins The Last Stand

(12 Oct 2011)


Renowned Spanish actor, Eduardo Noriega (THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, VANTAGE POINT) has joined the quickly growing cast of Kim Jee-woon's THE LAST STAND.

The film, which features Arnold Schwarzenegger's full time return to the movie biz , sees the Governator as a sheriff in a small rural America town who has to battle a drug lord who is hiding out on his turf on his way to the Mexican border. Noriega will play said drug lord named Cortez.

Noriega will be joining Schwarzenegger, Jaimie Alexander, Peter Stormere and Zach Gilford with the film aiming for a 18th January 2013 USA release date.

Choi Min-shik Cast in Nameless Gangster

(4 Oct 2011)

News has come out that Oldboy himself, Choi Min-shik has been cast in Nameless Gangster (The War Against Crime). Choi Min-shik looks to play a rough and tough police officer during the nineties. The period of the film is a turbulent one as the government went to war on the criminal underworld in Busan. Not much less is known except that the film will go into production in April 2012 with Ha Jung-woo starring alongside.

 

Rooney for Oldboy?

(29 Sep 2011)

Mara Rooney is an actress on the rise already seen in David Fincher's THE SOCIAL NETWORK and the upcoming GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, also directed by Fincher, Twitch is reporting she is now being mentioned as the top choice for the female lead in the OLDBOY remake. 

The character of Mi-do, played by Kang Hye-jeong, has been renamed Marie in the script which is said to be a mix between Park Chan-wook's film and the original Manga. The film is reportedly circling around Christian Bale as the villain but representation for the actor have stated that no decisions about future roles will be confirmed until after November. Spike Lee, who will be directing, has already signed on Josh Brolin as the lead characeter played by Choi Min-shik in the Korean film yet there are rumblings that there maybe some problems with this casting but no solid news.

Images and Synopsis for Spellbound

(28 Sep 2011)

Courteous of CJ Entertainment the synopsis for new film Spellbound has been released. Underneath are a few images released a while ago of the film. 

Jo-gu, a street magician, meets a miserable girl, Yu-ri, during one of his performances, and she winds up the inspiration for his “Horror magic show.” The show becomes wildly popular and Jo-gu is now a successful magician with a model girlfriend. Yu-ri begins working as an extra on the show but the darkness inside her, something her teammates sense, keeps her from truly connecting with anyone else. Jo-gu’s attempt to include her during dinner turns into a disaster when she gets blindingly drunk. Jo-gu calls Yu-ri the next morning, but when the phone disconnects with a weird noise, he starts to worry. When Jo-gu finds her, she confesses the long story behind her gray, wan face. Since surviving a high school car accident Yu-ri has seen the ghosts of dead schoolmates and her one-time best friend Joo-hee. Joo-hee is a ghost, following her everywhere and scaring the people around her, leaving her totally isolated. Even Yu-ri’s family eventually fled, leaving her behind to live alone in a tent, speaking only to a friend on the phone sometimes. During the course of Jo-gu’s failed attempts to find the lonely Yu-ri a boyfriend she resigns herself to the idea of her solitary life is best in the grand scheme of things. And though Jo-gu is sometimes scared witless himself, the pair starts to develop feeling for each other. Now consumed with jealousy, Joo-hee becomes a threat during the show and prompts Yu-ri to head off to join her family to save Jo-gu. Is getting away going to be that easy, or does Joo-hee have more tricks up her sleeve?

First Trailer for Kim Ki-duk's AMEN

(28 Sep 2011)

Hitting the interwebs is the first trailer for Kim Ki-duk's ultra low-budget, one camera, one woman feature AMEN. The trailer basically gives nothing away except to show a strange Korean girl walking through the streets of Europe. Here's the synopsis for some context:

A woman goes to France in search for a man who she lost contact with, only to find that he has moved on to Venice. On her way to Venice, she faces a horrible incident in the train which makes her painfully question herself about life and relationships. And when she makes a frightening conclusion, the question becomes the share of the audiences.

The trailer does not embed well so click here to have a peek. It does show you that one man with a camera, an idea and one actress can make a feature film that will reach international distribution. Of course it helps if your name is Kim Ki-duk and you haven't produced a non-documentary feature film in three years and loved by most european distributors and film fans. 


 

New Poster & Images For MY WAY

(20 Sep 2011)

Here are some new images and posters for blockbuster MY WAY starring Jang Dong-gun (BROTHERHOOD), Jo Odagiri (DREAM) and Fan BingBing (FLASHPOINT).

The setting is Seoul, in Japan-colonized Korea. Jun-shik, who lives and works in a large Japanese estate—which belongs to Tatsuo’s grandfather—and Tatsuo are rivals, both aiming to become competitors in the upcoming marathon. Jun-shik becomes elected to participate in the Tokyo Olympics as a marathon runner, but war breaks out with the U.S.S.R. and he is forced to enlist in the army.

One day, Tatsuo is recruited to become the head of defense in Jun-shik’s unit. Tatsuo devises a scheme to attack the Soviets but the plan falls apart and Tatsuo and Jun-shik are held captive. When the Germans attack the Soviets, the POWs are forced to join the Soviet Army. Jun-shik and Tatsuo try to escape, but are captured by the Germans, and the two are forced to separate.

In 1944, on the shores of Normandy—where Tatsuo has been allocated to—Jun-shik and Tatsuo meet again. Jun-shik has long become a German soldier at this point, and the battle against the Allied Forces are imminent. Upon hearing that an exit passage was possible via Cherbourg, Tatsuo proposes to Jun-shik that they escape together. Amidst the chaotic throes of an enemy attack, Tatsuo and Jun-shik make a run for their lives.

[Source: FilmSmash.com]

 

Lots and Lots of New Images for Upcoming Releases

(15th Sep 2011)

 

Thanks to FilmSmash for all these lovely new stills for upcoming Korean releases; Couples, Kings Of Pigs, Many A Little Romance, Scars and Countdown.

Couples

<Keopeuljeu> five different men and women through the inevitable unpredictability of the accident and a unique grille, a couple being a romantic comedy film, "Once Upon a Time>" John Smith's descendants> <family crisis - the Mafia 2> create a jeongyonggi director took a megaphone: Recently opened movie "Sleeping with the Enemy> gimjuhyeok's girlfriend finally tracked them down, two to disappear all of a sudden," Yoo Suk 'stations, recent drama "Dream High" is featured in yiyunji Yoo Suk and He screws mixed up in a strange bond with the 'aeyeon' station, recently won an amateur boxing tournament and movie "Dangerous Families> yisiyoung are soaring popularity of the show a 'Yoo Suk's girlfriend disappeared Nari took on each station. Gonghyeongjin In addition, the 'sir' and the mob boss entanglement 'byeongchan' Conversely, based on a new singular sense of comedy 'comic sensibility smoke' the exhibition is scheduled to film "World charts> launched from noon turns tasty comic acting ' Yoo Suk "in favor of 'Sir' to chase the tracks 'boknam' will play the role.

 

 

King Of Pigs

Following on the success of [Leafie], [The King of the Pigs] is expected to become another meaningful animated film in 2011. A rare commodity for adults, its bleak vision extends from its striking visual style to its rather grim themes. A disturbing reflection of contemporary society, the film promises to challenge and entertain audiences both at home and abroad.

 

Many A Little Romance

 

Scars

While her husband is the face of the evening news on televisions around the nation, Sun-hee is at home alone. While her husband pursues an affair with a young orchestra violinist, Sun-hee struggles to find fulfillment in her solitary work as an illustrator. Haunted by recurring dreams of a grotesque Child Buddha's earthen face and surrounded by relationships gone cold, everything seems primed for change. But everyone has been hurt, and even when the wounds have healed, there is something that remains, binding together what was once rent apart.

 

Countdown

 

 

First Images for AMEN, Kim Ki-duk's New Film

(12th Sep 2011)

New images and poster has arrived for Kim Ki-duk's sneaky little film he made when everyone was/is going on about ARIRANG. AMEN will be playing at San Sebastian and Pusan Film Festival this year. Below is the synopsis and images:

A woman goes to France in search for a man who she lost contact with, only to find that he has moved on to Venice. On her way to Venice, she faces a horrible incident in the train which makes her painfully question herself about life and relationships. And when she makes a frightening conclusion, the question becomes the share of the audiences.

 

More Posters for action/melodrama PAINED

(2nd Sep 2011)

Here are some new posters for PAINED with added head craddling. 

A love story between a man who cannot physically feel anything and a woman with hemophilia

Nam-soon suffers from analgesia, the lack of sensibility to pain, and has no joy in living. He cannot taste the food he eats and feels no pain even with a bloody wound. While living a pitiful life of harming himself, he meets Dong-hyun out on a job to collect money for a private loan shark. But for some reason, Nam-soon can’t get Dong-hyun, who is bold and bright despite her hard life, off his mind.

Nam-soon ends up saving Dong-hyun when she is in danger of being abducted. Later, when she wanders around with nowhere to go, he takes her to his house. Nam-soon, who has always been alone, finds new meaning to life with the bright and cheerful Dong-hyun beside him. Eventually, Dong-hyun finds out that Nam-soon is an analgesia patient and Nam-soon finds out Dong-hyun is fighting hemophilia and needs to take antibiotic injections every day. Their feelings of sympathy and compassion for each other slowly but surely blossom into love. [Source KOFIC]

New Poster for COUNTDOWN and Trailer for FIGHTING SPIRIT

(30 August 2011)

First here's the poster for new Romantic Thriller, COUNTDOWN, starring Jeon Do-yeon (HOUSEMAID) and Jeong Jae-yeong (WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL).

A cold-blooded debt collector who never failed to get what he wanted meets the beautiful yet mysterious ex-impostor who's every word is nothing but lies. She has the key to save his life but he only finds that she puts him in deeper troubles. Time is running out and he needs to get it done with her while his heart still beats.

The poster isn't has visually striking as the previous but it's still nice.

Also released is the first trailer for baseball flick, FIGHTING SPIRIT or FIGHT, as it may be called.

The film is a comedy-sports drama directed by Kim Sang-jin (ATTACK THE GAS STATION, KICK THE MOON).

New Poster for THE CLIENT & New Eng Sub Trailer for QUICK

(24 August 2011)

The first poster for the courtroom drama/thriller, THE CLIENT and the English subbed trailer for the action packed film, QUICK. Have a look below.

 

 

Trailer and Stills for Mr Idol aka Be A Superstar aka Happy Together

(17 August 2011)

Filmsmash has the first stills and footage from KPop infused film; Mr Idol. The new film features Park Ye Jin (Memento Mori) as a, once, famous music producer, Guju, who fades into obscurity after the death of one of the members of a band she represented. After a number of years she meets Yujin, a singer who has been booted out of their talent agency, but has the potential to hit it big. Guju puts together a group of talent musicians dubbing them 'Mr Children' to front Yujin, and they start to become very famous, very quikly. Of course the agency Yujin had previously been signed to try and slander the group in an effort to bring them down.

 

 

THE CLIENT Trailer and Stills

(16 August 2011)

New film, THE CLIENT, from Sohn Young Sung, director of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, has released some footage and stills from the production.  Here's the synopsis: 

The Client

Battle of wits as a lawyer slowly uncovers the truth that his client tries to hide

Defense attorney Kang receives a notorious case to defend Han, who is accused of killing his wife. Even though her body is not discovered, the general public is quick to label him as the devil-reincarnate and begs for a shift guilty verdict. It’s a difficult case but Kang is confident that he will prevail. The defendant is an enigmatic character with OCD who can’t express his thoughts clearly.

Fortunately for him, there is no murder weapon but he doesn’t have an alibi either. The prosecutor handling Han’s case is also Kang’s archrival, and is determined to bring down Han for the murder and his lawyer along with him. Kang digs into Han’s case in order to uncover evidences to clear his client’s name.

The film sounds and looks in the same vain as Ryoo Seung-wan's THE UNJUST, but with a more focused narrative. We'll keep you updated as more news comes up.

[Source: Film Smash]

 

CinDi Starts Tomorrow

(16 August 2011)

CinDi is one of the best digitally based film festivals in the world and as they enter their fifth year they are continuing to prove this with another strong program.

The festival will open tomorrow with Hong Sang-soo's Cannes film, THE DAY HE ARRIVES.  This is not the only Cannes film screening at CinDi as the festival will host the Korean Premiere of Kim Ki-duk's self portrait documentary film, ARIRANG. The film will take part in the "CinDi Surprise section, which introduces viewers to the year’s most refreshingly provocative and cinematically surprising works,” states the festival orangiser. 

The festival will screen a total of 98 films from around the world and run from 17th Aug to 23rd Aug. Visit the site here; http://www.cindi.or.kr

 

Poster and Trailer for CHAMP

(10 August 2011)

CHAMP is one of the many Korea sports film dramas that will soon be casading into the film market. This is also one of the many horse racing films that follows in the hoof steps of the successful; GRAND PRIX and LUMP OF SUGAR.  Below is the synopsis and trailers.

Horse jockey Seung-ho lost his wife and his sight in a fatal car accident. He leads an aimless life with his little daughter but looses all his savings when he tried to cheat at the horse track and flees to a remote ranch in Jeju Island.

There he meets a violent and limping horse Woo-bak and he trains the horse ready for race. Against all odds, Seung-ho and Woo-bak finishes first in the preliminaries but when Seung-ho’s blindness is discovered by the officials, they’re disqualified from the finals.

Woo-bak rejects all other jockeys and direly awaits Seung-ho to come back. The limping horse and his blind jockey bet everything to race one last time.

 

 

 

New Trailer for Invasion of Alien Bikini

(4 August 2011) 

 

[Source FilmSmash]

News on The Incoming Flood of Korean Sports Films

(29 July 2011)

Korea is about to have a tidal wave of Sports Films after the successful bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and the run up to the 2012 Summer Olympics. News has been revealed on a number of the of the impending Sports films, with most of which being based on real events and people.

The first, FIGHT, is a fictional tale of a Baseball player who only discovers what it is to be a man after being demoted to the minor leagues, much like A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN and MAJOR LEAGUE. PACEMAKER is about a marathon pacesetter who competes in his first marathon, CHAMP is the real-life story of a jockey and his ailing horse taking part in the Korean Grang Prix. KOREA looks at the joint South and North Korean women's table tennis team who won the gold at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan, which will star Ha Ji-won (SECTOR 7, HAEUNDAE) as the S.Korean team mate and Bae Doo-na (THE HOST) as the North side of the equations. Lastly out of the announced films; is THE PERFECT GAME telling the rivalry between legendary Korean Baseball players; Sun Don-yol of the Haitai Tigers and Choi Dong-won of Lotte Giants, directed by Park Hee-gon (INSADONG SCANDAL). 

New Casting For STOKER

(28 July 2011)

New casting announcement for Park Chan-wook's english directorial debut with Jacki Weaver landing a role in STOKER. Weaver has recently been the apple in Hollywood's eye after her rivating performance in the Austrialian crime drama, ANIMAL KINGDOM, released earlier in the year.  

Weaver has just wrapped on Judd Apatow's new feature THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT and will be whisked away to lovely Tennesse for shooting on STOKER.  Her part in the suspense/thriller film is as yet unknown but she is joining a cast of Mia Wasikowska (ALICE IN WONDERLAND, 2010), who is the central role in the film, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode with a screenplay penned by PRISON BREAK'S Wentworth Miller. Here is the synopsis:

a fantastical, fairy tale-like family drama that follows the story of an eccentric teen, India (Wasikowska), whose enigmatic and estranged uncle (Goode) returns to the family after the death of the girl’s father. People, however, start to go missing in her hometown at the same time and she soon discovers that her uncle may be the cause.

[Source Playlist]

Trailer for HINDSIGHT & COUNTDOWN

(27 July 2011)

the first trailers for Song Kang-ho's new romance/action, HINDSIGHT and COUNTDOWN starring Jeon Do-yeon have hit the net, have a look below:

 

[Source: FilmSmash]

 

Terracotta Opens Splinter Distribution with Terror-cotta

(25 July 2011)

British Distributor, Terracotta, who specialise in East Asian Cinema have announces the launch of Terror-cotta, and imprint focusing on Horror and Thriller genre, East Asian films. The first film to be released is DEATH BELL, a horror film franchise much like SAW but in a high school. Below is Terror-cotta's press release:

Terracotta Distribution launches imprint label ‘Terror-cotta’ with Death Bell

Terracotta Distribution announces the launch of ‘Terror-cotta’, an imprint to their already successful specialist Asian film label.

The new imprint will be focused on horror and thriller genre titles and will launch in October (coinciding with the run up to Halloween) with Yoon Hong-seung’s ‘Death Bell’ a Korean horror where students and teachers are locked in a high school and forced to play a deadly series of quizzes and tasks with the losers being killed off in a gruesome manner.

Further titles will follow in the coming months including two further unannounced serial killer films.

Label founder Joey Leung commented: “Terracotta Distribution have always bought quality and entertaining Far East Cinema to the UK and we can keep adding fresh offerings to audiences with this new imprint.”

Existing horror related titles such as ‘Hansel & Gretel’ will remain on the main Terracotta Distribution label.

Here's the trailer for DEATH BELL:

 

New Images And Title For Song Kang-ho Film

(20 July 2011)

Song Kang-ho's new romantic/gansgter film, originally titled BLUE SALT, has now officially been re-titled HINDSIGHT. Aside from Song Kang-ho the film also stars Shin Se-kyeong known for her roles in films such as CINDERELLA and HIGH KICK THROUGH THE ROOF.  Below is the synopsis and new stills from the film.

Retired mob boss Du-heon enrolls in a cooking class with the hopes of making a fresh start as a restaurant owner. In the class he meets a quirky girl, Se-bin, and finds himself drawn to her mysterious charms. Despite his determination to wipe the slate clean, Du-heon is summoned back into the criminal fold by his old colleagues to stop his successor expanding the mob business into prostitution and drug-dealing.

But there’s more to the girl from the cooking class than meets the eye: Se-bin is a contract killer hired by the new boss. She keeps a close eye on Du-heon and watches for an opportunity to take him out. However, she comes into conflict with herself as she grows attached to him.

When her friend and partner, Eun-jeong, is kidnapped by the new boss, she suggests that she kill Du-heon in exchange for her friend’s safe return. On a vast salt farm, Se-bin and Du-heon come face to face in a final showdown.

 

 

[Source Filmsmash]

CLOUD ATLAS casts Bae Doona

(19 July 2011)

Cloud Atlas, one of the more ambitious film adaptations have cast the fantastic Bae Doona (THE HOST, BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE). 

The novel is a multi-award winning story consisting of six time leaping and converging stories written by David Mitchell.  Here's the publisher's description:

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan`s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified `dinery server` on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation - the narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other`s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity`s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.

Bae Doona will play a clone, Sonmi~451, in a dystopian future Korea who acts as a sort of activist leader of her clone kind rallying against the capitalist, totalitarian society that created her.  The actress will play alongside Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, ben Whishaw, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and will be directed by the Wachowski Brothers (THE MATRIX) and Tom Tykwer (RUN LOLA RUN). The film is aiming for an Autumn 2012 release.

Teaser Trailer For PARASITE SOUL

(14 July 2011)

Two new teaser trailers for the up coming Korean horror film, PARASITE SOUL (GHASTLY). Directed by Yun ho-yang (GRAND PRIX, IRIS: THE MOVIE) about the usual Asian horror fair.  Not much is known about the film in english but you can have a guess after watching the trailers.

 

 

 

Eng Subbed Trailer for MOBY DICK

(14 July 2011)

Thanks to TwitchFilm for the heads up with this english subtitled trailer for the thriller, MOBY DICK.  There have been a number of posts on the film which you can find below but here's a re-post of the synopsis:

The truth squad vs conspirators -LEE Bang-u, a journalist who would do anything to get a scoop, sees a mysterious explosion in the Balam Bridge and senses there is a major story behind it. Suddenly, a man named Yoon-hyeok appears and, without a word, leaves a tennis bag filled with surveillance reports of civilians and a locked floppy disk. Later, Bang-u finds out that Yoon-hyeok is being chased by some strangers. Bang-u forms a special investigation team with other journalists, SON Jin-gi and SONG Hyo-gwan who were also working on the case. One day, some strangers break into their office, Moby Dick, and leave a terrible mess. The strangers even impose a threat to the investigation team and Yoon-hyeok who is holding the key to the case.

 

New SECTOR 7 English Sub Trailer

(13 July 2011)

Arriving online is a bigger and improved trailer for the 'new host' blockbuster SECTOR 7:

[Source: Film Smash]

Casting Rumours on OLDBOY Remake

(13 July 2011)

Over at TwitchFilm they are reporting that one of the actors at the top of the list for the Spike Lee OLDBOY remake is none other that GOONIES and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN star, Josh Brolin. 

This is a pick that has reportedly come from the studio behind the remake, Mandate Pictures, and not that of its newly appointed director, Spike Lee, as often happens the studio and the director do not always agree. Brolin is an interesting choice, just as Lee was for the directors chair, and has the talent and experience to fill the shoes of Choi Min-shik, the original Oh Dae-su.  Question will be thrown around though concerning whether the actor has the box office clout to draw the opening weekend Mandate will be looking for.  

Personally I don't think that it is much of an issue as the star will not be the biggest draw of the film but rather the concept, the director and the original fanbase, which is globally reasonably large now.  So I'd like to see the director and studio spend time fiinding the right actor not the one with the largest star power.

 

More On THE LAST STAND

(13 July 2011)

More details about Kim Jee-woon and Arnold Schwarzenegger's new project have been released by Lionsgate:

Schwarzenegger will be starring as Sheriff Owens, a man who has resigned himself to a life of fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction after leaving his LAPD post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with failure and defeat after his partner was crippled. After a spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy, the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the hemisphere is hurtling toward the border at 200 mph in a specially outfitted car with a hostage and a fierce army of gang members. He is headed, it turns out, straight for Summerton Junction, where the whole of U.S. law enforcement will have their last opportunity to make a stand and intercept him before he slips across the border forever. At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately accepts responsibility for one of the most daring face offs in cinema history.

Also weighting in on the subject is Joe Drake the President of Lionsgate, stating;

Arnold Schwarzenegger will bring incredible magnetism to this complex but classic roll [sic]. When he came on the screen in THE EXPENDABLES, it always electrified the audience. In this film, the Sheriff Owens character grapples with some really tough stuff, but ultimately triumphs, and we knew he’d truly elevate this high octane ride.

Sounds interesting and also a little like WALKING TALL but I'm sure Kim Jee-woon's unique style will make the film shine. 

 

Arnie Making THE LAST STAND

(12 July 2011)

Its really becoming a day for Korean/American productions, with it being announced that the OLDBOY remake has a director in Spike Lee and now Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed for Kim Jee-woon's THE LAST STAND.

Arnie has recently ended his two term run as the 'Grovenator' of California and announced that he would rekindle his once 'proud' acting career with three projects. The crappy cartoon, THE GOVERNATOR, then tentatively signing on for both, Kim Jee-woon's THE LAST STAND and CRY MACHO, a thriller about a retired horse trainer involved in an international kidnapping plot from director Brad Furman (THE LINCOLN LAWYER).

Except for the animated series the above two projects were put on hold due to the scandal Arnie became embroiled in. But with all that dying down he's back on the horse with the Korean/American production, but at a reduced fee from all the negative attention attracted.

Last year at the London Korean Film Festival Kim Jee-woon promoted he's last film, I SAW THE DEVIL, and stated his reason for wishing to work in the US with Paul Quinn over at Hangul Celluloid;

Making an American film is not a dream of mine at all, it’s simply that having made a lot of films in Korea, an appeal has built in Hollywood and the offer just came about. For me personally, I’m really thinking of it as a different take and a different perspective and since ‘I Saw The Devil’ had so many problems, it will be refreshing for me to try a different environment.

And over at Slash Film they have a quote on what THE LAST STAND is about;

With all this Korean/US news I wouldn't be surprised if we heard word of Park Chan-wook's STOKER.  THE LAST STAND is looking to start shooting in September 2011.

UPDATE!! OLDBOY Hollywood Remake May Still Have Some Life In It

(12 July 2011)

After being quiet for a few years, working on small TV projects and documentaries, Spike Lee is finally back to  the big screen with starting shooting today on his new film RED HOOK SUMMER (Working title) and now has been confirmed as the diretcor of OLDBOY remake.  Read below for the press release from Mandate;

Los Angeles (July 11, 2011) – Mandate Pictures announced today that Spike Lee (Inside Man) will direct OLDBOY, a remake of the highly-acclaimed South Korean film. Mark Protosevich has adapted the screenplay and will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison (The Departed, The Grudge) will produce. The film is a Vertigo Entertainment/40 Acres & A Mule Production. Mandate President Nathan Kahane will executive produce.

“It’s a great honor to put this special project into the hands of such a gifted writer and iconic director,” said Kahane.

OLDBOY tells the story of a man who is kidnapped and imprisoned on his daughter’s birthday. For fifteen years, he is held captive, and, upon his release, must begin his journey to find the reason for his imprisonment. He soon finds out that his kidnapper has plans for him more tortuous than his solitary confinement. The original film, released in 2003, directed by Chan-wook Park won the Grand Prize Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Here's the original post concerning the now confirmed rumors:

Twitchfilm have posted a report that the Hollywood remake of classic Korean revenge flick, OLDBOY, has a new director in talks and that being Spike Lee.

The remake came underfire from the fans when announced in 2008 due to the attached team in Steven Spielberg and Will Smith who where possibly looking to director or produce and Smith starring.  One of the issues surrounding the remake was, which some fans didn't seem to understand, it wouldn't, technically, be a remake of Park Chan-wook's film but a more faithfully adaptation of the original manga by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi.  Matters weren't helped with talk of exchanging elements such as eating the live octopus to eating a whole burrito, obviously pointed at the direction Hollywood wanted it to go.  However with Spike Lee's name thrown into the mix this gives hope in having a more faithfully or worthwell reinterpretation being producing.

It is unsure at this point whether Will Smith is still involved as he is in talks for Quentin Tarantino's DJANGO UNCHAINED film.  The film is set up with Mandate with Doug Davison and Roy Lee on producing duty and Mark Protosevich (THOR) writing. 

 

French Actress Joins Next Hong Sangsoo Film

(11 July 2011)

The always brillant, Hong Sangsoo, has a new project in the works, teaming up with Parisian actress, Isabelle Huppert, seen in some english language films including I HEART HUCKABEES as well as a myriad of French films.  

Huppert has mentioned on numerous occasions a desire to work with any of the great Korean filmmakers around on a visit to Korea eariler in the year. She has found her director in Hong Sangsoo, a filmmaker which has a special affinity with the French, spending a number of years in Paris and even making a couple of his films (NIGHT & DAY) in the city.

There is very little known about the production at this point with even Huppert only knowing;

"The only thing I know [about] the project is that we will turn in a small seaside town three hours from Seoul and there are five characters."

The film also will star Hong Sangsoo regular Yu Jun-sang (HAHAHA, THE DAY HE ARRIVES). With the quick turnaround on Hong's films (he released two films last year), this new project is looking to have a late 2011 Korean release and will most likely be out at next years Cannes Film Festival.

 

Melbourne Film Festival Announces Lineup

(8 July 2011)

Australia's premiere film festival, the Melbourne Int'l Film Festival has announced its 2011 lineup with Korea being represented by a number of films.  Included in this year is; Bong Joon-ho's BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE, two of Hong Sangsoo's films OKI'S MOVIE & THE DAY HE ARRIVES, END OF ANIMAL, THE UNJUST, THE YELLOW SEA, JOURNALS OF MUSAN, the Cannes short film THE GHOST and the Jeonju Digital Project 2011 featuring three films from international filmmakers funded by the Jeonju Film Festival.  Click here for more information about this year's MIFF.  

 

English Subbed SECTOR 7 Trailer

The footage is nothing new but this time its with english subtitles. And if anyone doesn't know what the film is about here is the synopsis;

1985. In “Sector 7,” an underwater oil field located south of Jeju Island, Hae-jun’s father goes missing in an unfortunate accident on the job. Twenty-five years pass and Hae-jun is now working as a marine equipment manager on an old oil prospecting ship called Eclipse. Also on board are Hae-jun’s boyfriend and marine biologist Dong-su, fun-loving Sang-gu and a clueless new recruit, Hyeon-wu.

Joining the crew later is Jeong-man, a former colleague of Hae-jun’s father, assigned to Eclipse as captain. Though his job is to oversee the withdrawal of the ship, he suggests conducting some drilling one last time. After 3 weeks of preparation, Hae-jun takes Hyun-wu underwater, but the new recruit sinks to the bottom of the sea when the equipment fails. Evidence suggests that it was not an accident and points at one of the crew as a saboteur. Shortly crew members begin to turn up dead, one by one, their bodies viciously mutilated. To make matters worse, the ship is isolated in a typhoon.

What the few survivors soon discover is a transparent underwater creature that they encountered once before. The viral monster infiltrated the ship through the drilling pipe and has been feeding on the crew to survive. Hae-jun and her colleagues’ frantic fight for their lives begins. [Film Smash]

 

Korean Spotlight at Fantasia 2011


Since 1996, Fantasia Film Festival has been bringing some of the best fantasy, horror and thriller genre films to Canada.  2011 marks its 15th year as well as the 2nd year the festival has spotlighted Korean Cinema hosting great films released over the last year as well as organising masterclasses with great filmmaking talent.  Below is the press release issued today concerning said spotlight so read below to see whats happening;

 

The 2nd Korean Film Spotlight at Fantasia 2011: 

Three multiple-award winning directors from South Korea will be present at Fantasia this year. Ryoo Seung-wan, director of THE CITY OF VIOLENCE, returns to the festival with his new film, THE UNJUST, a gritty story of cops, crime and corruption, coloured by black humour. It stars top talents Ryoo Seung-beom (the director's brother) and Hwang Jung-min, and features many cameos by major names in Korean cinema. The director also will lead a workshop on action cinema at Fantasia. The creator of the successful THE KING AND THE CLOWN, Lee June-ik, arrives with another variation on the historical epic, BATTLEFIELD HEROES, and has been invited onto the jury for the main competition section at Fantasia. Lastly, Lee Hae-young, responsible for the witty, touching LIKE A VIRGIN, presents FOXY FESTIVAL, a smart comedy about sexual secrets and desires.

 

This year, Fantasia’s Korean spotlight section welcomes five feature films by talented, promising first-time directors. BLEAK NIGHT (Rotterdam competition, FIPRESCI), by promising next-generation director Yoon Sung-hyun, is a potent and troubling coming-of-age tale reflecting on contemporary adolescence in Korea. From Kim Min-suk, scriptwriter of THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD, comes his directing debut HAUNTERS, a stylish paranormal thriller with star Kang Dong-won that did serious box office in Korea. HELLO GHOST by Kim Young-tak is an irreverent yet big-hearted comedy starring Cha Tae-Hyun (MY SASSY GIRL and SCANDAL MAKERS). Hollywood has picked up remake rights with plans for Chris Columbus (HARRY POTTER, HOME ALONE) to direct! Oh Young-doo’s INVASION OF ALIEN BIKINI, Grand Prix winner at Yubari Fantastic Film Festival 2011, is a contemporary Korean genre hybrid blending science fiction, comedy and action, and a triumph of filmmaking on a shoestring. And finally, PETTY ROMANCE, by Kim Jeong-hoon, offers a quirky and highly enjoyable spin on the romantic comedy genre, its charms having taken it to the top box-office ranking the week of its release in South Korea. 

 

There will also be two inspiring and impressive short films; NIGHT FISHING (Jury prize and Golden bear award at Berlin Film Festival 2011) by Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyung which entirely was shot in iPhone 4, GHOST(Competition at Cannes 2011) by Dahci Ma is about a starving man's imagination gets bigger in an empty house.  

 

Teaser For THE BEAST (1st July 2011)

Dir.  Hwang Yu Sik

Bo-ra and her brother, Tae-hun, lose their grandmother they have been living with since their parents’ death. But soon after he gets shocking news that Bo-ra has been kidnapped. The kidnappers plan to use Bo-ra in an online porno and threaten to post it on the web by 10 pm on the following day. Tae-hun embarks on an urgent mission to find his sister and get her back from the kidnappers!

[Source: Film Smash]

 

Teaser for New Film PAINED (21st June 2011)


A love story between a man who cannot sense anything and a woman with hemophilia

Nam-soon suffers from analgesia, the lack of sensibility to pain, and has no joy in living. He cannot taste the food he eats and feels no pain even with a bloody wound. While living a pitiful life of harming himself, he meets Dong-hyun out on a job to collect money for a private loan shark. But for some reason, Nam-soon can’t get Dong-hyun, who is bold and bright despite her hard life, off his mind. 

Nam-soon ends up saving Dong-hyun when she is in danger of being abducted. Later, when she wanders around with nowhere to go, he takes her to his house. Nam-soon, who has always been alone, finds new meaning to life with the bright and cheerful Dong-hyun beside him. Eventually, Dong-hyun finds out that Nam-soon is an analgesia patient and Nam-soon finds out Dong-hyun is fighting hemophilia and needs to take antibiotic injections every day. Their feelings of sympathy and compassion for each other slowly but surely blossom into love.

Then one day, Dong-hyun gets immune to the antibiotics she had been taking and needs a great sum of money for new injections in order to live. Dong-hyun realizes she’s become a heavy burden on Nam-soon and decides to leave. [KOFIC]


 

Character Posters for SECTOR 7 (21st June 2011)

 

Have a look at the newly released character posters for the new 3D monster movie coming out of Korea this summer, SECTOR 7.  

 

 

 

Here's what all the fuss is about:

1985. In “Sector 7,” an underwater oil field located south of Jeju Island, Hae-jun’s father goes missing in an unfortunate accident on the job. Twenty-five years pass and Hae-jun is now working as a marine equipment manager on an old oil prospecting ship called Eclipse. Also on board are Hae-jun’s boyfriend and marine biologist Dong-su, fun-loving Sang-gu and a clueless new recruit, Hyeon-wu.

Joining the crew later is Jeong-man, a former colleague of Hae-jun’s father, assigned to Eclipse as captain. Though his job is to oversee the withdrawal of the ship, he suggests conducting some drilling one last time. After 3 weeks of preparation, Hae-jun takes Hyun-wu underwater, but the new recruit sinks to the bottom of the sea when the equipment fails. Evidence suggests that it was not an accident and points at one of the crew as a saboteur. Shortly crew members begin to turn up dead, one by one, their bodies viciously mutilated. To make matters worse, the ship is isolated in a typhoon.

What the few survivors soon discover is a transparent underwater creature that they encountered once before. The viral monster infiltrated the ship through the drilling pipe and has been feeding on the crew to survive. Hae-jun and her colleagues’ frantic fight for their lives begins. [Film Smash]

 

New Trailer of QUICK (21st June 2011)

 

Here's a new trailer for fast, action packed Korean flick, QUICK, plus a synopsis;

Ki-Soo (Lee Min-Ki), Myung-Sik (Kim In-Kwon) and Ah-Rom (Kang Hye-Won) were members of the same notorious motorcycle gang. They enjoyed their days roaming the streets recklessly on the motorcycles. Now, Ki-Soo works as a motorcycle delivery man, Myung-Sik is a motorcycle cop and Ah-Rom is a pop idol singer. One day, Ki-Soo has Ah-Rom riding on the back of his motorcycle as he makes a delivery. To his surprise the delivery package explodes. Ki-Soo's cellphone rings and he hears a voice telling him that their is another bomb planted in his helmet which Ah-Rom is wearing. Ki-Soo is ordered to take another delivery. If the delivery is late or he attempts to run away the helmut will explode .


 

NYAFF '11 Invite a Slew of Korean Talent (21st June 2011)


The New York Asian Film Festival is America's best Asian oriented film festival and this year they are hitting it big with a huge amount of filmmaking talent from across Asia, particularly Korea. This year one of their main sections is titled; Sea of Revenge: New Korean Thrillers which includes; YELLOW SEA, HAUNTERS, THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, THE CHASER, BEDEVILLED, THE TROUBLESHOOTER, THE UNJUST and CITY OF VIOLENCE.

As well as that they will also be screening; BATTLEFIELD HEROES by Lee Joon-lk, FOXY FESTIVAL and THE RECIPE.  The festival will be welcoming Na Hong-jin, Ryoo Seung-wan, Lee Joon-lk and Kwon Hyeok-jae.

More New Trailers (17th June 2011)

Couple new trailers have been released for the upcoming films THE CAST: TWO EYES THAT SEE DEATH and ARROW: THE ULTIMATE WEAPON. We've already documented THE CAT below so we'll just show the trailer but afterwards we'll talk about BOW.

 

 

Now after that minute plus of creepiness here is the first teaser trailer for ARROW: THE ULTIMATE WEAPON.  The film is directed by Kim Han-min who has previously helmed; HANDPHONE and PARADISE MURDERED with a cast including; Park Hae-il (HEARTBEAT and THE HOST) and Ryu Seung-ryong (BLADES OF BLOOD).  Here's  the synopsis;

1623, the 15th year of King Gwanghaegun's reign, King's loyal servant and legendary archer, General Choi Pyong-ryang, is frmaed for treason and gets executed. His entire household meet the same tragic fate but his young son and daughter, Na-mi and Ja-in, escape and flee to the safety of their father's longtime friend, Kim Mu-seon's home. The brother and sister take refuge under Kim's wing and are raised as his own. 13 years pass and the Qing China carries out a brutal invasion against Joseon, in what will later be known as "second Manchu invasion of Korea." On the wedding day of Ja-in and Kim Mu-seon's son, Seo-gun, Qing troops led by Commander Jiusinta attack the village and take the villagers as prisoners. Ja-in is amoung the hostages. When Na-mi returns home later after getting injured in a battle, he finds his guardian murdered and his sister taken away by the Qing men. Na-mi chases after the troop in a desperate attempt to save his sister. Na-mi manages to track down Ja-in but must face a battle with Jiusinta's best men in order to escape.

 

 

Poster Released for K-Horror THE CAT: TWO EYES THAT SEE DEATH

Yes the upcoming Korean horror film has now got an official and full poster as well as an extended title of THE CAT: TWO EYES THAT SEE DEATH, which seems slightly dramatic.  Here's the synopsis;

So-yeun is an animal groomer who works in a pet shop. One day, she gets stuck with a Persian cat named Silky when its owner suddenly dies. From then on, So-yeun is constantly haunted by a bobbed hair girl with green cat-like eyes who turns her life turns into turmoil.

So-yeun desperately seeks help from the people around, but no one listens to her. The presence of the girl and the sound of Silky cries start to choke in around her life more and more. Not only that, people around So-yeun gets killed one by one. Soon, So-yeun comes face to face with the bobbed hair girl at the scene of a horrific death.

So-yeun gets rid of Silky hoping her troubles will come to an end, but Silky keeps coming back to her like a boomerang. Terrified she could be the next to die, So-yeun sets out to find out the identity of the girl with the help her dead friend ex-boyfriend, Jun-seok, who is a cop. Later, So-yeun finds out the truth to the tragic incident that took place in the past. [Source: Film Smash]

 

UNIDENTIFIED VIDEO Trailer (16th June 2011)

Being one of the top countries in the world for producing horror films the refuses to slow down with another new offering after THE CAT and WHITE.  This time it looks like a contemporary take on RINGU and seems to be sponsored by Apple. The film is UNIDENTIFIED VIDEO directed by Kim Tae-kyeong (DEAD FRIEND) and stars Park Bo-yeong (CELEBRITY'S SWEETHEART), Joo Won (BREAD, LOVE AND DREAMS) and Kang Byeol (A BLOOD PLEDGE).  Here's the synopsis and trailer:

A horror movie about the mysterious happenings that happen to a pair of sisters after watching an unidentified video. Directed by Kim Tae-kyeong, Park Bo-yeong plays Se-hee who tries to save her sister Jeong-mi, her boyfriend Joo Won and Kang Byeol plays the sister. [Source Hancinema]

 

Another New, and More Revealing, Trailer for MOBY DICK (15th June 2011)

Here is another trailer for the upcoming conspiracy thriller, MOBY DICK. Here's the synopsis and trailer:

The truth squad vs conspirators -LEE Bang-u, a journalist who would do anything to get a scoop, sees a mysterious explosion in the Balam Bridge and senses there is a major story behind it. Suddenly, a man named Yoon-hyeok appears and, without a word, leaves a tennis bag filled with surveillance reports of civilians and a locked floppy disk. Later, Bang-u finds out that Yoon-hyeok is being chased by some strangers. Bang-u forms a special investigation team with other journalists, SON Jin-gi and SONG Hyo-gwan who were also working on the case. One day, some strangers break into their office, Moby Dick, and leave a terrible mess. The strangers even impose a threat to the investigation team and Yoon-hyeok who is holding the key to the case. 

 


 

 

Now Showing in Korea (9th June 2011)

 

SHORT! SHORT! SHORT! 2011

Dir. Various

Cast: Various

Genre: Shorts Compilations

Runtime: 80mins

The Jeonju International Film Festival has supported young, talented directors by inviting them to contribute short pieces. In this year’s project, director Boo Ji-young presents “Moonwalk,” about a single mother working at a market to raise her teenage daughter, while Yang Ik-june’s “Immaturity” shows how a brokenhearted guy rediscovers hope through a naive young girl.

 

WHITE: THE MELODY OF THE CURSE

Dir. Kim Gok, Kim Sun

Cast: Eun jung, Hwang Woo-seul-hye

Genre: Horror

Runtime: 106mins

Pop band Pink Dolls emerges to stardom after releasing a remake of “White,” written by an anonymous composer. The more popular the members become, however, the more they become torn by jealousy and rivalries. But as the girls each take turns to become the lead vocalist, mysterious incidents occur.

THE STORY OF MY LIFE

Dir. Shin Chun-soo

Cast: Ryu Jung-han, Lee Seok-jun, Shin Sung-ok

Genre: Drama/Comedy

Runtime: 100 mins

Top musical actors star as themselves in this film about life onstage. Popular actors gather for the first script-reading of a new work, and a rivalry ensues between Jeong-han (Ryu Jung-han) and Seok-jun (Lee Seok-jun). Sung-rok (Shin Sung-rok) tries to relieve the tension between the two while Chang-yong tries to please the senior actors.

 

Cinema Guild acquires HE DAY HE ARRIVES (9th June 2011)


US distributor,Cinema Guild, buys up the rights to Hong Sangsoo's latest film, THE DAY HE ARRIVES. The film which competed in this year's Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival will make this one of the first films of Hong Sangsoo that has achieved US distributions.  The film follows a down on his luck filmmaker that looks to reconnect with his old life which takes the form of an actress, an ex, a long lost friend and his film students. You can expect many social embarrassments, zooms and lots and lots of drinking.  Below is the press release form Cinema Guild:

The Cinema Guild Acquires Hong Sangsoo’s “The Day He Arrives,” Official Selection of Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival

New York, NY —The Cinema Guild announced today the acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to “The Day He Arrives,” the acclaimed new film from Hong Sangsoo. The deal was negotiated by Ryan Krivoshey of The Cinema Guild with Luna Kim of Finecut. Theatrical release details will be forthcoming.

Sungjoon, a film director who no longer makes films, heads to Seoul to meet a close friend. When the friend doesn’t show up, Sungjoon decides to wander around. He runs into an actress he used to know, shares a drink with some young film students, and against his better judgment, heads to his ex-girlfriend’s house. The next day, or perhaps some other day, Sungjoon finally meets his friend. They go to a bar called Novel whose owner bears a striking resemblance to his ex-girlfriend. The next day goes very much like the previous day. But for however many days Sungjoon spends in Seoul, hopefully he’ll be able to discover the unseen forces behind all the random happenings in his life.

Hong Sangsoo made his debut in 1996 with the celebrated “The Day a Pig Fell into the Well.” Since then, through the 11 films that he wrote and directed, like “The Power of Kangwon Province,” (1998) “Turning Gate,” (2002) and “Ha Ha Ha” (2010), which won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, Hong has consistently enjoyed using a complex and highly ordered architecture under a seemingly random surface created by spontaneous circumstances to shed insight into his characters’ lives. Renowned for his unique cinematographic language and unprecedented aesthetics in filmmaking, Hong Sangsoo is considered one of the most established auteurs in contemporary Korean cinema.

“We’ve long been admirers of Hong Sangsoo’s films,” commented Ryan Krivoshey, “so we’re especially thrilled to be releasing ‘The Day He Arrives,’ his best film in years.”

The Cinema Guild is a distributor of independent, foreign and documentary films. Upcoming releases include Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz’s “The Interrupters,” Cristi Puiu’s “Aurora,” Vadim Jendreyko’s “The Woman with the Five Elephants” and Bela Tarr’s “The Turin Horse.”

THE DAY HE ARRIVES has yet to achieve UK distribution and probably will not.

 

Matthew Goode Possibly Lined Up For STOKER (9th June 2011)

 

Matthew Goode who has starred in such films as WATCHMEN and MATCH POINT is in talks to star in Park Chan-wook's American debut, STOKER. The indie film, which is said to be a high priority for Fox Searchlight, has already cast Mia Wasikowska (ALICE IN WONDERLAND) and Nicole Kidman. The film, written by Wentworth Miller (actor in PRISON BREAK) under the name Ted Foulke, tells the story of Wasikowska, a moody teenager whose estranged Uncle comes and lives with her and her family after Wasikowska's father dies. Of course not everything is peaches as strange occurrences begin to happen.

The film, produced by Free Scott the Ridley and Tony Scott production company, should of already been in production but is running behind schedule after Colin Firth, originally cast as the Uncle, seemingly dropped out. Goode who is a strong possiblity to take over from Firth as the Uncle has not yet been confirmed but with the project being such a 'high priority' for Fox Searchlight he will most likely be cast. 

 

POONGSAN Finally Has a Trailer (Sorry No Subs Though)

POONGSAN is the second feature from director Jong Jai-hong, a long time collaborator of Kim Ki-duk's who also wrote this new film. 

Poongsan, a young man regularly crosses over between the North and South in helping to reunite separated families. Even though this can be highly dangerous, he takes the risk without fear. One day, by a secret request from South Korean government agents he sneaks into North to bring over In-oak, the lover of a high-ranking North Korean defector. On their way to South Korea, they fall for each other while experiencing numerous life-and-death situations. However upon their arrival, they’re welcomed by agents who capture and torture Poongsan while In-oak gets disappointed with her old lover who has changed so much over the last couple of years.

POONGSAN is out in Korea June 23rd 2011.

 

Another Korean Remake of Dangerous Liaisons (8th June 2011)

The director of such films as APRIL SNOW, CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST and HAPPINESS is ramping up to director a remake of DANGEROUS LIAISONS. The film which has already been remade by the Korea with, UNTOLD SCANDAL, will be a co-production between Singaporean production company, Homerun Asia and Chinese company Zonbo Media. The two companies have vowed to invest $61-77 million over the next years years to produce a slate of five commercially Asian films. Originally a french novel, it has been adapted a number of times now including the successful US verison in 1988 starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich Michelle Pfeiffer and directed by Stephen Frears. There is not much information on the new 'Chinese' adaptation of DANGEROUS LIAISONS, whether it will be a modern retelling or a faith adaptation. Stick around for more information as its released.

YELLOW SEA finds UK Release Date (7th June 2011)

Eureka Entertainment have aquired the UK theatrical rights for Na Hong-jin's second feature, YELLOW SEA and not just that they have set a release date of October 21st 2011. Here is the press release that Eureka put out yesterday:

EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT to distribute Guilty of Romance and The Yellow Sea in the UK & Eire EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT would like to announce that they will be distributing the Japanese film Guilty of Romance & the Korean film The Yellow Sea (Hwanghae) in the UK & Eire.
Guilty of Romance is the erotic thriller by Japanese cult director Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish) which premiered with a Gala Screening at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The theatrical and DVD rights for the film were acquired by EUREKA from Films Boutique and will be released theatrically on 30 September 2011 in selected cinemas nationwide.
The Yellow Sea, starring Yun-seok Kim is a Korean crime drama directed by Hong-jin Na who won critical acclaim for his previous film The Chaser. The Yellow Sea was selected to screen as part of the Un Certain Regard programme in Cannes.
EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT will be distributing The Yellow Sea in the UK on behalf of BOUNTY FILMS, who acquired the theatrical and DVD rights for the film from Showbox/Mediaplex. The Yellow Sea is set for release on 21 October 2011 in selected cinemas nationwide.

 

Korean Film Archive Streaming Free Films Online (6th June 2011)

The Korean Film Archive will make nine Korean gangster films available online for free to watch till the end of June. Gangster films have been a strong stable in the Korean film market for decades and this online season looks to highlight the evolution of this genre starting with Korea's original gangster flick; GALLANT MAN (Kim Hyo-cheon, 1969). Other films that are playing in the season are; ASSASSIN (Lee Man-hee, 1969), FIVE FIGHTERS (Goh Young-nam, 1971), THE GRADUATION FROM MYEONGDONG (Goh Young-nam, 1971), TIME ON MYUNGDONG (Kim Hyo-cheon 1971), CRUEL HISTORY OF MYEONGDONG (Byun Jang-ho, Choi In-hyeon, Im Kwon-taek, 1972), A TRUE STORY OF KIM DU-HAN (Kim Hyo-cheon, 1974), THE GENERAL'S SON (Im Kwon-taek, 1990) and TERRORISTS (Kim Young-bin, 1995). Visit the site here.

Now Showing in Korea (2nd June 2011)

Here's a rundown of films showing in Korea this week.  Let us know if any interest you enough for the London Korean Film Festival in November.

MOBY DICK

Dir. Park In-jae

Cast: Hwang Jung-min, Jin Goo, Kim Min-hee

Genre: Conspiracy Mystery

Runtime: 112mins

A mysterious explosion occurs on the outskirts of Seoul. News reporters Lee (Hwang Jung-min), Sohn (Kim Sang-ho) and Seong (Kim Min-hee) put together a special investigation team to try to unmask the truth behind the incident and identify the people who were trying to conceal it. But delving into the matter puts their lives in danger

 

 

MAMA

Dir. Choi Equan

Cast: Uhm Jung-hwa, Yoo Hae-jin, Kim Hae-sook

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 110mins

The film interweaves three stories about mothers: a single mom (Uhm Jung-hwa) tries to make ends meet to care for her chronically ill son; a famous soprano (Jeon Soo-kyoung) tries to mend an estranged relationship with her daughter; and a gangster (Yu Hae-jin) pretends to be an English teacher in order to please his mother (Kim Hye-sook).

 

THE TRUE-TASTE SHOW

Dir. Kim Jae-hwan

Cast: N/A

Genre: Documentary

Runtime: 70mins

According to a government survey, 515 new restaurants open here every day while 474 go out of business. During the third week of March 2010 alone, major broadcasters introduced 177 eateries that boast famous dishes. Director Kim Jae-hwan suggests that this is often the result of sponsorships involving financial transactions. Filmmakers opened their restaurant and documented the promotional process of getting it on TV by installing hidden cameras around the venue. Narrated by Park Na-rim.

 

MIRACLE ON JONGNO STREET

Dir. Lee Hyuk-sang

Cast:So Joon-moon, Jang Byeong-kwon, Choi Young-su

Genre: Documentary

Runtime: 109min

This documentary chronicles the coming out of four gay men. Every night Nakwon-dong in Jongno, central Seoul, turns into a haven for gay men who gather there in search of friendship, romance and comfort. Sensitive filmmaker Jun-mun, passionate human rights activist Byeong-kwon, shy ruralite Yeong-soo and romantic Yol all dream of a better future for sexual minorities.

 

[Source Korea Times]

Kim Ki-young's First Film Screened in Korea (26 May 2011)


Thought lost for over fifty years, Kim Ki-young's directorial debut, THE BOXES OF DEATH, finally graced the silver screen last night in Seoul.  

The film was discovered by Kim Han-sang who had been a visiting fellow at Harvard-Yenching Institute and found a copy of the film in the National Archives and Records Administration in Maryland. The Korean Film Archive spent a reported 24 million Won, over two years to recreate a 35mm print to have it in condition to screen to an audience.  However, the years wasting away in the National Archives have resulted in the loss of the audio track and even the end of the film.

The film which was famous at the time for the use of highly expensive Hollywood camera equipment and for its depiction of North Korean sympathizers, being classified as an anti-communist propaganda. The story features "a communist spy Chi-sam (No Neung-geol) who disguises himself as a discharged South Korean soldier in order to infiltrate a local village. He finds lodging at Jeong-hi's (Gang Hyo-sil) house, after lying to the young woman's mother that her son, believed to have dies in combat, is actually alive and has fled to the Nother after becoming a communist."

Head over to a full article over at Korea Times.

 

Edinburgh Film Festival Line-up Announced (24 May 2011)


One of the longest running film festivals in the world, only trumped by Venice and one or two other fests, Edinburgh Film Festival comes 'round again in June.  Their 2011 line-up has now been released and they will be screening the UK premier of Yoon Sung-hyun's BLEAK NIGHT.  Here's the EIFF's synopsis for the film;

Part whodunnot, part coming-of-age, this haunting drama centres on a group of three schoolboys and thier complicated, sometimes explosive relationship. When one of the boys is killed in a tragic accident his friends find themselves gently interrogated by his broken-hearted father. Finding more questions than answers the father soon realises that perhaps even he should share in the guilt. A stunning photographed, sensitive portrait of damaged youth.

Click here for the festival's official webiste and see what else is playing.  I highly recommend TOMBOY, a fantastic French film that was one of the best films at Berlin.

 

Korean Cannes Winners (22 May 2011)

 


Only two Korean films came out of Cannes as prize winners and the only Asian films to do so.  Short film FLY BY NIGHT from student filmmaker Son Tae-gyum, came away with third prize from the Cinefoundation, overseen by french director Michel Gondry.  But the big prize went to Kim Ki-duk's ARIRANG, a strange documentary about what happened to the director during the past three years after a near death of an actress on his last feature, DREAM. The director is one of the only filmmakers in the world to win at all three major European film festivals; SAMARITAN GIRL, Best Director 2004 Berlin and 3-IRON, Best Director Venice 2004.

 

Happy Soul Festival 31 May - 12 June 2011 (19 May 2011)

Now in its fifth year, The Happy Soul Festival returns to South London spotlighting mental illness.  This year with a mixture of films and activities with the festival opening with a screening of the Korean film BREATHLESS, including a Q&A with actress Kim Kkobbi. The festival also includes screenings from the UK, India, Iran and others.  Click here and check out the festival yourself and what other activities are happening.

 

FINECUT Sales at Cannes (19 May 2011)


FINECUT have been selling left, right and centre to various territories, principally to Japan, the last few days at the Cannes Film Market.  Here's a break down of what's been sold to who;

>> Unsurprisingly, BITER ENDS bought up the Japanese rights to Hong Sangsoo's new feature, THE DAY HE ARRIVES, after owning Hong Sangsoo three previous films; OKI'S MOVIE, HAHAHA and LIKE YOU KNOW IT ALL.

>> CREST INT'L acquired Kim Ki-duk's first film in three years since BREATH, the documentary ARIRANG.

>> KING RECORD's who have previously snapped up multiple FINECUT mystery/horror films with BEDEVILLED and CHAW have picked up, MIDNIGHT F.M.

>> Pre-sales have also been made for the thriller BLIND to MFA in Germany, Austrua and Switzerland.

>> Hong Kong's, SUNDREAM MOTION PICTURES napped TROUBLESHOOTER, BEDEVILLED, ENEMY AT THE DEAD END, THE OUTLAW and the Park brothers, NIGHT FISHING short film.

>> Finally the, long in production, animation with voice talent including Choi Min-shik, LEAFIE, A HEN INTO THE WILD sold to the Middle East's TDH HOME ENT.


More Cannes Sales (13 May 2011)

9ers Ent sells:

RONIN POP (2011)

Dir. Matsuda Keita

Cast: ZE:A, Lim Jae-eun, Jeong Hee-cheol, Moon Jun-young, Hwang Kwan-hee

A Japanese/Korean production set in a dystopian that has been ravaged by nuclear war is where a lonely Ronin arrives in a small village and is confronted with a slew of enemies.

TRY TO REMEMBER (2010)

Dir. Lim Jin-pyung

Cast: Yoon Soi, Park Jae-jung, Ma Dong-seok

A man and a woman, despite hardly met before, they have been suffering t he same dream and the same de javu. A magnetic force leads them to Andong, the historic and elegant city, and they find an anonymous woman's 450 year-old letter in the museum.  A fantastic melodrama about love transcending time and space.

[Source KOFIC]

 

Some Pics from the 64th Cannes Festival (14 May 2011)

 

(People eagerly awaiting the screening of Kim Ki-duk's ARIRANG at Cannes)

 

(Dir Lee Tae-ho at the Int'l Critics' Weel section of Cannes for his short, IN FRONT OF HOUSE)

 

(Dir Moon Byoung-gon at the Int'l Critics' Weel section of Cannes for his short, FINIS OPERIS)

 

Cannes In Full Swing (12 May 2011)

That's right, what could be described as the world's most important film festival, or at least the glitziest one, the 64th Cannes Film Festival has fully kicked off with screenings of Jane Leigh's SLEEPING BEAUTY and Gus Van Sant's REATLESS.  But lets have a look at Korea's feature film contribution starting from tomorrow:

 

 ARIRANG

Dir: Kim Ki-duk

A documentary of one of Korea's most revered and, at times, controversial filmmakers depicts what happened to Kim Ki-duk during the three years that the director disappeared.  Below is Kim Ki-duk's statement about the film and the trailer:

 

<Arirang> is

about Kim Ki-duk

playing 3 roles in 1.

Through <Arirang> I can climb over any obstacles in life.

Through <Arirang> I can understand human beings, be thankful of nature, and acknowledge my life as it is now.

We are now…

in the terrestrial world lurking with desires,

in the ghostly world lurking with sorrow,

in the imaginary world lurking with dreams,

with no beginning nor end,

slowly going crazy.

 

What is the affection that still remains all around me decaying?

It is still stuck to the crown of my head, testing my emotions.

It is still hiding deep within my heart, testing my sense of compassion.

If I didn’t give my heart, the wicked would be erased from my memories, but if I gave my heart, I wouldn’t forget them until the day I die.

Ah…

 

Arirang

Alright

Let’s

Mercilessly kill each other in our hearts till we die.

Even today

I hold back as I get angry

I laugh as I get jealous

I love as I despise

And forgive as I quiver with the urge to kill.

Wait

I will kill

myself, because of those who I remember.

 

 

YELLOW SEA

Dir. Na Hong-jin

Gu-nam (Ha Jung-woo) who drives a taxi in Yanbian, China, lives in a desperate situation with debts and a wife who went to Korea 6 months ago to earn money.

Gu-nam (HA Jung-woo) who drives a taxi in Yanbian, China, lives in a desperate situation with debts and a wife who went to Korea 6 months ago to earn money. Meeting Myun (KIM Yun-seok) at a gambling room, Gu-nam is offered a job to kill a man in Korea which will pay off his debt. So he decides to cross the Yellow Sea in hopes of finding his wife and paying off his debt. From then on, the storyline goes almost into real time as similar as NA did in his debut film THE CHASER. While Jung-ho runs through the city all night-long to stop a murder in THE CHASER, YELLOW SEA follows Gu-nam jungling between practicing for his hit and chasing the tracking down his wife. So, the tension increased by employing the real time technique is one of the crucial elements making up NA’s style.  

 

The most different aspect between THE CHASER and YELLOW SEA or the most impressive virtue of YELLOW SEA is a unfamiliarized viewpoint. Gu-nam has no longing to go to Korea, no relatives or memories, and doesn’t even listen to Korean music. No sense of belonging to his “Homeland” and Korea is a just dirty land to him, where his innocent wife got lured and into having an affair.  

 

Compelling violent scenes in the film are not horrible moments, rather, the most horrible moment is the bewildered feeling of desolation when he looks up a map to find a way to Ulsan in the mountain covered with snow as being chased by police. The film follows how Gu-nam changes in a desperate situation and adapts to it to survive. Who else would treat their characters with as much brutality? YELLOW SEA goes the full distance.

[Source KOFIC]

THE DAY HE ARRIVED

Dir Hong Sangsoo

 

One of the most anticipated Korean films of the year is director HONG Sangsoo’s latest work THE DAY HE ARRIVES. Characteristic of the auteur’s dramas, the film follows a regional college professor and occasional filmmaker on a trip to Seoul, and proceeds to show versions of what could have been a day or perhaps several different days. THE DAY HE ARRIVES has been invited to this year’s Cannes film festival’s Un Certain Regard section where last year, HONG’s film HAHAHA was the Closing Film and won the top prize.

As with most of his other idiosyncratic works, the film has a very Korean setting for almost subtle character interaction that makes for interesting viewing as well. THE DAY HE ARRIVES takes place mostly in the Bukchon district of Seoul, which is known for its traditional Korean-style houses and artistic atmosphere which is filled with cafés, galleries and a public library. Near this district is the traditional antiques and gallery neighborhood of Insa-dong. The film’s Korean title <BukchonBanghyang> roughly translates to ‘in the direction of Bukchon’ or ‘Bukchon-bound’.

In the lead role of Sung-joon, the film stars YU Jun-sang, who first started working with HONG on the 2008 film LIKE YOU KNOW IT ALL and most notably also starred in HONG’s HAHAHA.

With the face of an ultimately self-centered man who easily smiles to please others and get his way, Sung-joon arrives in Seoul to see an old friend of his, Young-ho (KIM Sang-joong). While he waits to see him, he wanders around Bukchon, running into an actress he used to know and having a short conversation with the eager woman. He walks down to Insa-dong and has a drink by himself when he is invited to join a trio of film students who recognize him as a film director. They are kind and respectful, but eventually he ditches them in a paranoid fashion and heads to an old flame’s apartment.

The next day, or maybe another – we can’t be sure – Sung-joon is still wandering around Bukchon and again he runs into the actress he used to know. They talk again and part. Sung-joon finally meets up with his friend Young-ho, who has a previous engagement to see Boram (SONG Sun-mee), an attractive professor whom he insists is just a good friend he cares about a lot. They go to a bar called Novel. She is obviously very interested in Sung-joon. The owner of the bar looks very much like Sung-joon’s old flame Kyung-jin (KIM Bo-kyung), and he plays the piano for her.

And then the next day, or perhaps another day altogether, Sung-joon goes to Jungdok Library with Young-ho. He tells the story of how he once followed a girl home from there for the first time. In the evening, the two meet with a former actor who has returned from doing business in Vietnam. There is tension between the former actor and the former director, but it is dispelled for the time being and Boram joins them. The four of them go to “a bar called Novel,” as Sung-joon once again narrates in a voiceover. After a few drinks, he kisses the bar owner.

It now seems like Sung-joon may have been in Seoul with his friend Young-ho for a few days now, or just one day so far. He might have learned something from the meeting with his old flame, or it might be that he has to meet again with this woman who looks like the old flame. As if he had only the one day, Sung-joon is left to face the day in spite of everything.

 

CJ Presales (11 May 2011)

Screen Daily are reporting that CJ Entertainment, the company behind great films such as MOTHER and SYMPATHY FOR MR VENGEANCE, have already sold a big chunk of their 2011 slate to various territories.  Sales include; animated feature TARBOSAURUS to Russia, Germany, India, The Middle East, Portugal, Thailand, Indonesia, SIngapore and Turkey.  SECTOR 7 which is being billed as the next HOST but in 3D sold to Germany, Taiwan, Indonesia, The Middle East and Vietnam. And most impressive is the presale of WHITE from the strange filmmakers behind EXHAUSTED and ANTI SKIN GAS.  WHITE is a seemingly conventional horror flick about a fictitious K-pop group whose hit song brings about mysterious troubles to the pop stars.  The film stars the real-life lead singer of girl group T-ara. The film has purely been sold on the merits of its promo screened at the Hong Kong Filmart and will have its market premiere at Cannes.

 

Jeongju Int'l Film Fest Winners

Congrats to Park Chan-kyong for winning the Grand Prize at Jeongju Int'l Film Festival for ANYANG, PARADISE CITY.  The film is a mix of documentary and feature film narratives to portray the past and present of Anyang, a city 23km from Seoul. Its another feather in the cap of Park who recently also won the Short Film Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale with his brother Park Chan-wook for NIGHT FISHING, a short completely filmed on an iPhone 4

Other winners of this year's festival are; JEAN GENTIL (Dominican Republic, Mexico & Germany) took the Grand Prize for Int'l film which has previously recieved a special mention Venice Film Fest.  Specail Jury Prize was won by THE DREAM OF ELEUTERIA (Philippines) and the JIFF Audience Award went to AN ESCALATOR IN WORLD ORDER.  

 

I Saw The Devil Out Today (9th May)


That's right! One of the biggest successes of last year's London Korean Film Festival, I SAW THE DEVIL is finally out on Blu-ray and DVD after its ever so brief stint on the silver screen.

A psychotic serial killer is on the loose, committing some of the most diabolical crimes the police have ever witnessed. No one is safe as the body count rises and the killer continues his evil odyssey of sadistic butchery. But when the fiancée of an elite special agent becomes one of his victims, a personal investigation becomes a merciless and brutal game of vengeance. As one violent encounter leads to another, it’s a game where the hunter becomes as unhinged as the hunted.

Directed by one of Korea’s most notorious and revered directors Kim Ji-Woon (A Tale Of Two Sisters), I Saw The Devil is as action packed and thrilling as it is extremely dark and disturbing. Reuniting the director with actor Lee Byung-Hun (A Bittersweet Life, Hero, The Good, The Bad And The Weird) it also stars Asian cinema legend Choi Min-Sik (Oldboy).

Special Features:

  • Director's Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailer
  • Gallery

 

 

My concept for The Last Stand is that it’s kind of a combination of Die Hard and High Noon where (the latter) was about protecting something very important that needs to be protected, while Die Hard is a very drawn-out, long process that almost kills someone in the process, so my film will be something that has to be very well protected and in the process, we almost die protecting it in a way. So if I Saw the Devil was about a person’s extreme remorse about having lost something that they couldn’t protect,The Last Stand would be where someone puts their lives on the line to protect something that’s very important and it will be a bit more optimistic film in that regard.

Festival Highlights

 

Kundo: The Age of The Rampant

w/ Q & A dir Yoon Jong-bin , actor Gang Dong-won and producer Han Jae-duk


Thursday 6th November 19:00

London Odeon West End


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A Girl At My Door

A Girl At My Door & Dir Q&A w/ July Jung , Lee Jun-dong & Nam Dong-chul


Friday 7th November 20:20

London Odeon West End



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Hwayi: A Monster Boy

Hwayi: A Monster Boy + Q&A w/ Lee Jung-dong


Saturday 8th November 13:30

London Odeon West End


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Han Gong-ju

Han Gong-ju + Q&A w/ BIFF Programmer Nam Dong-chul


Saturday 8th November 16:00

Odeon Covent Garden


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Poetry

Poetry + Producer Lee Jun-dong


Saturday 8th November 17:00

London Odeon West End


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Pascha

10 Minutes + Introduction by BIFF's programmer Nam Dong-chul


Sunday 9th November 16:30

Odeon Covent Garden


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One on One

One on One Introduction by Anton Bitel


Sunday 9th November 17:00

London Odeon West End


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Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits

Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits Q&A w/ Park Chan-kyong


Monday 10th November 20:30

Odeon Covent Garden


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Bitter, Sweet, Seoul

Bitter, Sweet, Seoul w/ Q&A w/ Park Chan-kyong


Tuesday 11th November 18:30

Odeon Covent Garden


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Under the Sky of Seoul

Under the Sky of Seoul + Introduction by Dr. Mark Morris


Tuesday 11th November 20:30

Odeon Covent Garden


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I'm not a hairdresser / There's no forest / Faces

I'm not a hairdresser / There's no forest / Faces


Thursday 13th November 18:30

Odeon Covent Garden


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Cold Eyes

Cold Eyes + Q & A with actor Jung Woo-sung


Friday 14th November 19:00

London Odeon West End


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Revivre

Closing Gala: Revivre + Q & A with actor Ahn Sungki


Saturday 15th November 19:00

London Odeon West End


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