20 years of CJ Entertainment

Miss Granny

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Film info

2014. Directed by Hwang Dong-hyeuk , starring Shim Eun-kyung, Na Moon-hee , 124 mins.

A surprise hit at the Korean box office, is the latest film by Hwang Dong-hyeok who helmed the superlative in 2013. tells the story of 74-year-old Mal-soon (Na Moon-hee), a rather bitter elderly lady who endlessly shares the difficulties she has faced in life with anyone within earshot. On overhearing a conversation in which her family discusses putting her in an old people’s home, she fears she has become nothing but a burden to those around her. So, when she passes a photo studio called ‘Forever Young’ she decides the time has come to have her memorial picture taken, in what she’s convinced are her final days. Sitting for the portrait to be taken, Mal-soon is told by the photographer that he’ll make her look 50 years younger - a compliment she happily accepts - but to her shock, horror and subsequent excitement on leaving the studio she finds that she has indeed become her 24-year-old younger self (played by Shim Eun-kyung). However, as Mal-soon is soon to rediscover, being young isn’t all that easy.

By Paul Quinn

Memories of Murder

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Film info

2003. Directed by Bong Joon Ho , starring Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung , 127 mins.

Between 1986 and 1991 a serial killer murdered ten women, between the ages of 13 and 71, in a small town in south of Seoul, South Korea. This being the first serial killer case the country had seen it caused a media frenzy. uses this true-life serial killer story as the basis for its story with Detective Park Doo-Man (Song Kang-ho) and his violent partner Cho young-koo (Kim Rwe-ha) assigned to the case. Detective Park clearly isn’t the sharpest of cops, but being thoroughly convinced that he is surrounded by idiots (which is actually pretty true) he is sure his keen sense for "spotting villains" will allow him to find the killer. Blundering their way through the case, Park and Cho come to interview Hyun-ku (Park Hae-il), a genuinely unsettling, creepy character whose cold, emotionless gaze adds fuel to the detectives’ belief that they may have finally found their man. Felt by many to be the best Korean film ever made, Bong Joon Ho’s defines classic Korean cinema.

By Paul Quinn

Mother

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Film info

2009. Directed by Bong Joon Ho , starring Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin , 129 mins.

A middle-aged (unnamed) mother (Kim Hye-ja) lives with her mentally slow son, Do-joon (Won Bin), in a rundown part of town where she sells homeopathic herbs and roots. Though all around think Do-joon is good looking, his mental limitations mean that he has never had a girlfriend and he is even under the impression that sleeping with someone means exactly that. When a young girl is killed, police learn that Do-joon had been following her on the night of her death and, with the discovery of evidence near her body linking him to the crime scene; he is arrested and charged with murder. Knowing that Do-joon "couldn’t hurt a water bug", his mother desperately tries to convince the authorities to re-investigate the case but when they refuse she realises that if her son’s innocence is to be proved she will have to find the real murderer herself. Helmed by one of the best and well-known Korean directors, Bong Joon Ho, subtly states that catching a monster often requires becoming a monster.

By Paul Quinn

Masquerade

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Film info

2012. Directed by Choo Chang-min , starring Lee Byung-hun, Ryoo Seung-ryong, Han Hyo-joo , 131 mins.

King Gwanghae (Lee Byung-hun) is a strong and forthright ruler in Joseon Dynasty Korea. Fearing an assassination attempt on his life, he instructs his secretary of defence Heo Gyun (Ryoo Seung-ryong) to find someone who looks enough like him to take his place at public engagements. The doppelganger found is a lowly acrobat, Ha-seon (also played by Lee Byung-hun), who knows nothing of etiquette, royal life or indeed how to impersonate a monarch but when Gwanghae is indeed poisoned, Ha-seon is pushed into taking his place as a figurehead 24/7 while the king recovers, nonetheless. However, as he begins to play a part in official proceedings, Ha-seon’s caring nature as a ruler begins to shine bringing questions from the royal court and causing the queen to question which king she truly loves. With Lee Byung-hun being one of the most popular male Korean actors, it is easy to see why became one of the highest grossing Korean movies of all time.

By Paul Quinn

Roaring Currents

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Film info

2014. Directed by Kim Han-min , starring Choi Min-sik, Ryu Seung-ryong, Cho Jin-woong , 128 mins.

Roaring Currents Oldboy

By Paul Quinn