Showing posts with label kmovie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kmovie. Show all posts

23 April 2021

K Movie Review: Seo Bok (2021)

It's been a while since our last K movie so Oppa and I decided to watch one. I was thrilled to know that Gong Yoo and Park Bo Gum had a new movie. They're both on my list and it was nice to see something new from Bogummy who's currently fulfilling his military service duties. So, yes, I was prepared to love this movie. 

Plot

Seo Bok is about the story of a human clone/specimen (Bo Gum as Seo Bok) who was made from human genes plus something else that can't be found in humans. Seo Bok's stem cell can be used to cure diseases. Seo Bok was also meant to be immortal as long as he gets to take his medicine every 24 hours. To check if his stem cells can really heal others, tests needed to be done. The company who made Seo Bok picked Ki Hun (Gong Yoo), a semi-retired government operative who has brain tumors. That's like hitting two birds with one stone - they find someone to run their tests on who's also capable of protecting Seo Bok. The two guys grow closer over the short span of time they spend together. The movie takes us through Ki Hun and Seo Bok's quest in avoiding the evil and greedy people around them who have competing interests.  

Gong Yoo as Ki Hun

So far, we've seen Gong Yoo in Coffee Prince and Train to Busan. And I loved him there. I liked the cool/jerk-y coffee shop owner and the zombie-slaying dad. I have not watched a Gong Yoo show in months so I was excited to see him again. The excitement got even higher after I saw his guesting on IU's Palette. Gong Yoo seems like a genuinely nice person. 

I can't say anything bad about how Gong Yoo did Ki Hun. He was bad ass in those fight scenes. I loved how protective he was of Seo Bok although he often expressed that through anger whenever Seo Bok got into trouble. I also liked his drama scenes especially when he recalled how one of his former colleagues was killed. Even the severe headaches were believable. So yep, Gong Yoo was given this job and he delivered, as expected. 

Park Bo Gum as Seo Bok

I will always have a soft spot for Bo Gum. He's like a little brother, or sometimes even a son, to me. And his role here as Seo Bok just further reinforced those feelings. I wanted to comfort him and be there for him. 

Yes, he was playing the role of a semi-human who's almost robotic. But Bo Gum still manages to inject those intense emotions when needed. I loved how he gradually learned to care for Ki Hun. And I absolutely loved those moments when he visited his dad's urn in Ulsan and when he saw his mom's dead body. I loved the restraint Bo Gum showed. His silent tears conveyed so much. And angry Seo Bok who could make everything and everyone bow down to him was not bad either. 

The stoic Seo Bok was reminiscent of Taek in Reply 1988. And while the best Bo Gum I've seen so far would probably still be Record of Youth, I would have to say that he delivered here as well. And I really liked him more here than in Encounter.  

Execution

I think it's pretty evident from what I said above that I loved Gong Yoo and Bo Gum here. They gave solid performances. But you know that a but is coming. 

I didn't quite like how the story developed. Sure it had all the elements of a great film - some sci-fi, some action/thriller involving government and terrorist attacks, some drama/bromance, and great lead stars. Unfortunately, the movie failed to capitalize on all these things. 

I feel like it's one of those shows/movies that wanted to do so much but in the end, it failed to really touch on anything in a substantial way. 

I liked how the movie tried to call out humans for their greed - using technology to gain power over the world. And how people often forget that the pawns that they use are also thinking and feeling human beings. Or how even their most complicated creations like Seo Bok would still have a bit of humanity left in them. 

Overall, however, the movie failed to evoke strong emotions from me. I didn't really feel the story that much. The desire to present a man versus technology battle was admirable. But without a solid story to back it up, the movie had the tendency of leaving its viewers wondering what it really wanted to achieve in the end. I don't subscribe to the belief that technology is bad per se and anyone who comes across it is bound to be greedy and so let's just kill everyone to end that greed.  Probably a bit of hopeful tone would have helped - that technology in the hands of good people can be very useful too. 

So while this would still be worth watching because of Gong Yoo and Bo Gum, you won't be missing much story-wise if you skip this one. 

Oppa says...3.1.

Noona says...3.8. 

09 November 2020

K Movie Review: My Sassy Girl (2001)

My Sassy Girl will always be special to me because it was my first ever exposure to Korean entertainment.  Princess Hours was my gateway drama but I watched My Sassy Girl way before that. I probably watched it around 2002. I remember that I loved it because of Pachelbel's Canon. I recall an abusive girl and a very patient and submissive guy. All the rest were blurry. 

I remembered it again when I watched Hometown Flex and found out that one of its host, Cha Tae Hyun, was the lead actor in My Sassy Girl. 

I was in the mood for something romantic after watching all the released episodes of DoDoSolSolLaLaSol. I was still feeling giddy because of Lee Jae Wook and I needed help to get by until the next episode comes out. 

Story


The story begins when Gyeon Woo (Tae Hyun) rescued a drunk girl (Jun Ji Hyun, aka Gianna Jun) who was about to fall into the train tracks. I only realized that The Girl had no name when I started writing this. The two were an unlikely couple. 

Gyeon Woo was a carefree and immature guy who lacked confidence. Although he was already in his mid-20s, his mom still nagged him. 

The Girl, on the other hand. was an angry and abusive (both physically and verbally) one. She never backed down and she always spoke her mind (against predators and litterbugs to name a few). She seemed depressed about something but she never talked about it. 

Despite their differences, the two eventually got together. Nothing formal but The Girl did demand a 100th day celebration. The Girl asked Gyeon Woo to do crazy things and he always obliged. He had to give her a flower during her class and wear her high heels, among others. 

The Girl's parents did not seem to approve of Gyeon Woo, allegedly because she had no future with him. The Girl broke up with Gyeon Woo in a very dramatic and heartbreaking manner. They wrote letters to each other and they buried them in a time capsule beside a tree in some mountain. They agreed to meet again in two years to read the letters. 

Although he was probably very confused and hurt, Gyeon Woo respected The Girl's decision. He waited patiently for two years. He went back to the tree as per their agreement but The Girl never showed up. He read her letter and he found out that The Girl's boyfriend passed away. The day she met Gyeon Woo was her boyfriend's first death anniversary. She broke up with Gyeon Woo because she felt that she has not totally moved on from the other guy. Gyeon Woo reminded her so much of her boyfriend and she thought it was unfair that she would be with Gyeon Woo without healing fully yet.  

The Girl went back after a year and she learned that Gyeon Woo still visited the tree once in a while. The old tree was struck by a lightning and Gyeon Woo even planted a new one because he knew that The Girl would miss the tree. 

When The Girl finally felt ready to see Gyeon Woo again, she could no longer reach him. But you can't really fight fate. Two people meant for each other will always find their way back into each other. The Girl finally agreed to a blind date set up by the mom of her deceased boyfriend. Gyeon Woo finally agreed to meet his aunt who loved squishing his face because he reminded her so much of her deceased son. Gyeon Woo's mom had been nagging him to meet his aunt since the start of the move but he kept on making excuses. Yes, Gyeon Woo was the cousin of The Girl's deceased boyfriend. And by the time the film ends, the two were already holding each other's hands. 

The Good and Some Bad Stuff

Some people might find the verbal and physical abuse quite excessive. The film could have probably done away with some of the abusive stuff. However, if you consider the year when this film was released and the character of The Girl, it might be difficult to imagine The Girl not being that abusive. I somehow feel that her actions were essential to drive home the point that she was depressed and was using her anger to hide it. 

Some stuff did not seem logical. Like how Gyeon Woo managed to move to the other mountain when they were burying the time capsule. Or how Gyeon Woo managed to replant a full grown tree. But the good stuff were enough to make me ignore these things. 

I admit that the feeling I got after watching the film this time was different. Some 20 years ago, I probably still looked at the world with rose-tinted glasses. But I know better this time (I think). Although the feelings might not have been as intense as before, the film still gave me those good and swoony vibes. 

I was surprised that Pachelbel's Canon was not played as prominently as I remembered from the first time I watched it. Back then, everyone was so crazy about this music because of My Sassy Girl. It was apparently just played during that one scene when Gyeon Woo brought The Girl a flower in her class and then a bit towards the end. But I remain crazy in love with this music. It was still very soothing and pleasant to the ears. 

My other favorite part of the movie was when Gyeon Woo told The Girl's blind date about 10 rules he needed to remember if he wanted to date The Girl. That was just the sweetest. That was testament of how well he knew The Girl and how he deeply and truly cared for her. Even if he could not have her, he still wanted her to be happy. Here's a link to that scene. 

Gyeon Woo was not extremely good looking. But his kind and pure heart made him very endearing. It was so heartwarming to see man who was flexible enough to adjust to what The Girl wanted. He did not simply adjust but he even bent over backwards for her. It was not just with the physical stuff like wearing her shoes, carrying her home when she was drunk, bringing her flowers in class, etc. 

What made Gyeon Woo perfect in my eyes was his willingness to be The Girl's shock absorber. Although he was madly in love with The Girl, he remained grounded. He knew that The Girl was grieving about something. And he acknowledged that once her grief is cured, she might no longer need him in her life. He respected that she needed him and he was willingly there for her. But when his time was up, he did not resist.  And he never asked her to explain herself. The Girl never had to tell Gyeon Woo what she was going through. He just stood by her side, no questions asked. But as I mentioned above, Gyeon Woo is the ideal. Someone we all long for but would probably never meet in real life. 

I totally forgot about the serendipitous ending. And watching it again made me realize how brilliant it was. That seemingly harmless nagging by Gyeon Woo's mom for him to meet his aunt was apparently not irrelevant at all. It was a very essential part of the story. 

Would things have been easier for Gyeon Woo and The Girl if they met right away through the mom/aunt? I don't think so. It would have felt contrived. The Girl had obviously not moved on yet at that point. Gyeon Woo might have resented her for using him to move on from his cousin. And if they broke up after that initial meeting, their relationship would have probably been irreparable. There might have been no reason for them to get back together again because they might have hurt each other too much. I believe that the timing was perfect for everything that happened. This time around, there were no longer barriers that would get in the way of their love story. 

Yes, the feeling I got from watching My Sassy Girl was different this time around but it was still a beautiful one. This film is a great reminder that love (with a little help from fate) is a wonderful thing. Let me leave you with this beautiful song from the movie. 


Oppa says...4.2.

Noona says...4. 


25 October 2020

K Movie Review: The Last Princess (2016)

Our drama viewing has slowed down considerably. Blame it on our poor health and drama choices. But we're catching up. We're finishing one drama tonight and another one on Tuesday so it's going to be a very busy week for us. :D

I prefer watching drama finales at night so we're saving the last episode of Coffee Prince for tonight. That's why this afternoon, we watched a film instead. 


The Last Princess tells the story of the Joseon Dynasty's last princess. The film starts in around 1925. After Princess Deok Hye's (Son Ye Jin) father was poisoned for refusing to have Joseon unite with Japan, life had been very difficult for the royal family. Deok Hye was forced to move to Japan to study because she was perceived to be a threat. 

In Japan, Deok Hye stayed with his brother who married a Japanese royalty. They were watched closely but fortunately, the guy (Park Hae Il as Kim Jang Han) Deok Hye's dad wanted her to marry found a way to infiltrate the Japanese troops. He was serving Deok Hye's brother while at the same time plotting a way to get Deok Hye and her family to go in exile. 

Unfortunately, their escape plan was foiled and they were all captured. Deok Hye was forced to marry a Japanese count (Kim Jae Wook of Coffee Prince as So Takeyuki) with whom she had a daughter. 

After Japan surrendered in 1945, Deok Hye tried to go back to South Korea with her daughter but royalties were not allowed to return due to destabilization fears. Deok Hye went on to divorce her husband. Two years later, their daughter committed suicide. All these misfortunes were probably just too much for Deok Hye that she was eventually admitted to a mental facility. 

Deok Hey would have been totally forgotten and left to die in Japan had it not been for Jang Han who persisted in finding her. He was now a reporter and with his connections, he was finally able to find Deok Hye and he convinced the South Korean government to allow the Joseon royalty to return. Deok Hye returned in 1962 and died in South Korea in 1989. Her brother managed to come home a few years after Deok Hye although he was already in coma by then and he died after around three years. 

We loved watching this film because we missed watching Son Ye Jin. We last saw her in Something in the Rain and that was a long time ago. As expected, her acting was again topnotch. She can really do it all - meek, sad, angry, in love, happy, scared, etc. Name it and Ye Jin can do it. Her acting was so moving, especially her old version of Deok Hye. 

Her homecoming and how she slowly regained her memory of the people she was with in the past were both happy and heartbreaking. It was so sad to think of all the years that she lost. 

According to Oppa, Jang Han was actually the star of the film and the title should have been The Last Princess' Protector. And that's quite right. Although Deok Hye seemed to be in the forefront of things because she was the royalty, the events that unfolded would not have been possible had it not been for Jang Han. And while it's our first time to watch Park Hae Il, we were impressed. His old version transformation looked so natural. I wondered why we have not heard of him in dramas. When I checked, I found out that he mostly does films. 

The cast was great over-all. Even the villains were perfect for their roles. It was also nice to see Kim So Hyun (Love Alarm) as the young Deok Hye. 

My favorite, however, would have to be Ra Mi Ran (Reply 1988) who played the role of Bok Sun, Deok Hye's assistant. Bok Sun's fierce loyalty to Deok Hye was so admirable. It was totally heartbreaking when she was taken away from Deok Hye. I'm just glad they were able to have that well-deserved reunion when Deok Hye returned to South Korea. Mi Ran is such an amazing actress. She still managed to inject poise and grace to her role even if she was just an assistant. 

I loved how this film was both historical and entertaining. This story was a painful reminder that nobody really wins in war. Families are separated, people get killed, properties are damaged, and a lot of people suffer irreparable injury (physically, mentally, and emotionally). And while people try their best to heal afterwards, you just cannot make up for lost time. And the least you can do is to make things a bit more bearable for them perhaps by honoring the memories of those who died or like in this film, letting them return to their homeland. 

This film was also proof that not all war heroes work in the frontlines. There are people like Jang Han and Deok Hye who work behind the scenes. And that does not make their work any less important or heroic. 

I was wondering though why Deok Hye seemed to have been quickly forgotten by her people. I often hear the Joseon Dynasty mentioned in dramas and I suppose it's one of the more popular dynasties in Korea. Were Deok Hye's people brainwashed to forget about her? 

Oppa was wondering if films like this do not create any resentment against Japanese people. He thought that probably the Korean viewers are mature enough to handle stories like this. I know Koreans are still very sensitive towards the Japanese but I'm proud that they're brave enough to face their history through films like this. I wish I can say the same about my country where past colonizers and oppressors are sometimes even glorified. Perhaps we need to make films like this too so our people will never forget. 

P.S. I have not fact checked the film's version of the story so I can't comment on how accurate it was. 

Oppa says...4. 

Noona says...4.5. 

12 October 2020

K Movie Review: Extreme Job (2019)

We're in some sort of a K drama slump. We really liked Love Alarm so we thought of watching another Kim So Hyun drama. We picked Radio Romance but we were extremely bored with the first episode. When we're not sure if we should continue watching a drama, I usually check reviews online to see if a show's worth our time. First blog I check is Fan Girl Verdict. And when I saw that she dropped Radio Romance, we decided to stop watching it as well. 

My next pick was School Nurse Files featuring Jung Yu Mi. We loved her on Summer Vacation. And I thought I overcame my fear of thriller/horror/sci-fi stuff after enjoying Love Alarm and Train to Busan. But I was wrong. School Nurse Files was way too scary/odd for me. Although there were only around six episodes, I could still not imagine spending six nights scared and worried that I might have nightmares. Oppa was willing to give it another try. I was not. 

I finally settled on a classic, Coffee Prince, because I was intrigued with Gong Yoo after watching him on Train to Busan. Fan Girl Verdict also had a very favorable review of this drama so I decided to go for it. We're in the middle of watching it. And judging by our pace, I know Oppa is not completely happy with what we're watching. :D Hence, he suggested that we take a break and watch a film instead. And that's the long story on how we ended up watching this movie. 

I was completely clueless about this film so I had no expectations whatsoever. 

Story


Extreme Job is about a team of narcotics detectives. The members have not been doing so well and their chief threatened to disband their team if they don't shape up. Their latest task was to catch big-time drug  gangs. While they had a very viable lead, they were thrown off track a couple of times. 

The first road block was the fried chicken joint the team used for their stakeout while spying on the drug gangs. The owner was closing shop and they made a crazy decision of buying the restaurant. The team was now confronted with the silly problem of having too many customers. People loved their food and they could not solely focus on their mission of catching the drug gangs. 

Things fell into place eventually when one of the drug lords decide to invest on their chicken shop. He put up franchises of the restaurant as a front for drug dealing. 

The team went on to catch the bad guys and they were promoted and honored for catching these big drug gangs. 

The Good

For a movie and for actors that were unknown to us, we really liked the film. It was funny without being slapstick or over-the-top. The scenes and the storylines were realistic but very entertaining. 

The actors were all good. Their fight scenes were well-executed. 

Chief Go (Ryu Seung Ryong) was the team leader. He was a quiet guy who was really dedicated to his job. He cared about his team. 

Detective Young Ho (Lee Dong Hwi) was the one who really took their job seriously that he was often exasperated with his team's misplaced dedication to the chicken shop. Despite his doubts, however, he still stuck it out with his team. 


Detective Ma (Jin Seon Kyu) was the funny one. And the designated chef of the restaurant. Although he appeared to be all jokes, he turned out to be a really great fighter. 


Detective Jang (Lee Hanee) was the only girl in the team. I loved her. She looked totally badass, while still remaining feminine. She exuded this Rachel Weisz vibe. She was so cool. 


Detective Jae Hoon (Gong Myung) was the team's baby. He was a newbie who was so excited to make his first arrest. 

At first glance, it would seem weird that these people were put in one team. Their first operation shown on the film was an epic fail, you'd think they were totally incapable of doing their job. But the surprising plot twist towards the end of the film was that they were all very skilled - Chief Go has been stabbed a lot of times but he's still alive earning him the name zombie; Young Ho was a UDT (appears to be special forces used during wars); Ma was a member of the national judo team; Jang was a muay thai athlete; and Jae Hoon was a high school baseball player (who can endure beatings). The team was special, thus, they were able to catch the drug gangs even if they were totally outnumbered. 

I loved the film because the story was simple. It was an action film that did not resort to extreme gore or violence. It used comedy to get its story across. I know this has been done before but most of the funny action films I've seen were just too slapstick for my taste. Extreme Job, on the contrary, was able to perfectly and carefully balance the funny with the action stuff. It was equally exciting and funny. And it was definitely a perfect film to watch as an icebreaker that will hopefully help get us out of our drama slump. 

Oppa says...4.3.

Noona says...it's a 4. 


21 September 2020

K Movie Review: Parasite (2019)

I've long wanted to watch Parasite but it kept getting bumped off by other dramas. It didn't help that it's not available on Netflix so it's not easily accessible. Oppa and I finally found the time to watch it. And I must say it's definitely as good as advertised. 

Story


Parasite tells the story of the Kims (Song Kang Ho as Ki Taek, Jang Hye Jin as Chung Sook, Choi Woo Shik as Ki Woo/Kevin, and Park So Dam as Ki Jung/Jessica), a poor family who lived in a basement. 

The Kims made a living folding pizza boxes. Just as Ki Woo was applying for a full time job in the pizza place, his friend asked him to take over tutoring a high school student. Ki Jung, a talented forger, forged school documents for Ki Woo to make it appear that he was qualified to tutor. 

Ki Woo introduced himself as Kevin to the family of his tutee, the Parks. The Park family (Lee Sun Kyun as Dong Ik/Nathan, Cho Yeo Jeong as Yeon Gyo/Madame, Jung Ji So as Da Hye, and Jung Hyeon Jun as Da Song) was an affluent one. Kevin tutored Da Hye who fell for him. 

Ki Woo and and Ki Jung plot to take over the staff of the Park family. Ki Jung recommended Jessica (allegedly a friend's classmate) as an art teacher/therapist for Da Song. 

Ki Jung planted underwear on Mr. Park's car to make it appear that his driver was using it for extracurricular affairs. When the driver was terminated, Ki Jung then recommended his father (as a relative's family driver). 

The entire family then plotted against the Park family's long-time housekeeper by making it appear that the latter had tuberculosis. They were actually just scattering peach scents and crumbs all over the house to trigger the poor housekeeper's peach allergy. When the housekeeper was fired, Mr. Kim now recommended an agency that can supply housekeepers to VIP clients. The new housekeeper was, of course, Mrs. Kim. 

Things were going smoothly now that the entire Kim family was working for the Park family. But it didn't last long. While the Parks were out on an overnight camping trip and while the Kims were having a party at the Parks' mansion, the old housekeeper (Lee Jung Eun as Gook Moon Gwang) returned to retrieve "something" she left behind. Turned out that what she left behind was her husband (Park Myung Hoon as Oh Geun Sae). She hid him in a bunker under the house. The Parks were not aware that the mansion had a bunker. Moon Gwang could not get her husband because she was fired abruptly. Chung Sook threatened to call the police when she found out but Moon Gwang also found out that Chung Sook's entire family was leeching on the Parks. Chaos ensued but they had to fix things quickly because the Parks had to cut their camping trip short due to the rains. Mr. Kim locked up Moon Gwang and Geun Sae in the bunker, while he and his kids hid under the living room's center table. The Kims, minus Chung Sook, left in the middle of the night after the Parks fell asleep. 

The Kims thought their troubles were over but more misfortune awaited them at home. The sewerage system overflowed and their basement house was submerged in water. They had to spend the night in a gym. 

However, the Kims had to look presentable fast because they were all called back by the Parks the following day to help out during/attend Da Song's birthday party. Ki Woo planned on killing Moon Gwang and Geun Sae but the latter beat him to it. Geun Sae began attacking the Kims, starting with Ki Woo, then Ki Jung, Chung Sook, and finally Mr. Kim. Geun Sae, whom Da Song had seen before as a "ghost" shocked everyone. Da Song fainted upon seeing Geun Sae again and Mr. and Mrs. Park were panicking because they had to take him to the hospital within 15 minutes. Mr. Park wanted Mr. Kim to drive for them. However, Mr. Kim was busy attending to his daughter. He threw the car keys to Mr. Park and the keys landed near Geun Sae. As Mr. Park was about to pick up the keys, he covered his nose, probably due to the stench coming from Geun Sae. Mr. Kim, who previously overheard Mr. Park complain about his smell and the smell of people who rode the subway, probably could not take the oppression anymore that he left his daughter and stabbed Mr. Park. 

Ki Jung, Mr. Park, and Geun Sae died from the incident. Ki Woo underwent brain surgery and recovered eventually.  He still lived in that basement home with his mother. They were both released on probation. Nobody could find Mr. Kim. But it didn't take long for Ki Woo to find out that Mr. Kim was hiding in the bunker. Moon Gwang, who probably passed away during the bunker chaos, was buried by Mr. Kim in the Parks' garden. The Parks moved away but another family took over. Mr. Kim would sneak out once in a while to steal food from the refrigerator. Ki Woo vowed to work hard so that he'll be rich enough to buy the Parks' mansion so he can free his father once more. 

The Good

Parasite won numerous awards, the most popular of which was the Academy Award for Best Picture. I would have to say that all of these awards were well-deserved.

The cast was so good - all of them. We were familiar with some of them and we were pleasantly surprised with their transformation. 


It was quite difficult to guess that Chung Sook was the glamorous North Korean department store owner and mom of Seo Dan in Crash Landing on You. I could not see any trace of that poise in Chung Sook. She looked every bit the aggressive mother who would do anything for her family. 


Park So Dam was also a revelation here. We're watching her on Record of Youth right now and she's all cutesy there. But Ki Jung seems to be from a totally different planet. She's street smart and she had that gangster vibe in her. 

We're watching Choi Woo Shik on Summer Vacation and my initial impression was he's one of those guys who's smiling all the time and would make a good male lead or second male lead. But Ki Woo blew me away with how cunning he was. His decisiveness in plotting against Geun Sae and his wife showed how far he was willing to go to make his family's life better. If his father did not have a plan, then he was willing to plan for their family. 


We just saw Song Kang Ho in A Taxi Driver the day before and here he was giving us another stellar performance. Mr. Kim held everything in, probably for his family. Despite the things they've done, he still wondered about the driver that he replaced and if he was able to find a new job. But in the end, the inequality was just too much for him. He could no longer take how Mr. Park was openly mocking people like him. 


Geun Sae was scary. He was totally different from Seo Dan's funny and caring uncle in CLOY. Much like Mr. Kim, Geun Sae probably had enough due to his isolation. Add to that the fact that the only person who cared for him had been killed. Probably worse for him because the people who caused all of these were needy just like them. 


The Parks were spectacular as well but my most favorite was Lee Sun Kyun. We saw him on Summer Vacation and he seemed like a very laid back type of guy. I loved how he looked so regal in this film. 


I love this Parasite movie poster because it perfectly captures how the two families are alike but very different at the same time. They both have things to deal with. Mrs. Park has to run her household and find efficient staff for her family. These were big stuff for her but they obviously paled in comparison to the problems that the Kims had - having a decent house, jobs, and food to eat. 

This film is proof that life won't always be black and white. We will always be confronted with moral dilemmas. Was it wrong for the Kims to leech on the Parks? The means they used to achieve their goals were definitely wrong. But can you really blame people like them when their backs have been pushed against the wall too many times before? If the world refused to give them opportunities on numerous occasions, won't they find means, legal or not, to survive? 

Were the Parks at fault for failing to recognize how they were oppressing and maltreating the Kims? Probably. But if they've been rich all their life and they had no opportunity to learn about people who lived lives different from theirs, can we really blame them? Yes, we all have the responsibility to learn about the world around us - that people are different and we have to be flexible and reach out to those who are not as fortunate as we are. Unfortunately though, some people have lived too long in their own bubbles that it would take a lot to help them see beyond what's in front of them. 

Other people might find the sentence given to Chung Sook and Ki Woo too light. But that was actually one of the things I loved about the film. I liked how it recognized that while they did something wrong, you have to dig deeper than that. They had been poor all their life and when they were already so desperate, they had to resort to illegal means to survive. And while they still had to be punished, it was just and humane to give them another chance and hope that they would be more fortunate this time. 

Parasite was really good. I like how well-written and executed it was. It was funny until it wasn't, that is, until it became sad and heartbreaking. 

Oppa says...4.6.

Noona says...4.8. 



20 September 2020

K Movie Review: A Taxi Driver

We're currently watching Park Bo Gum's Record of Youth on Netflix. There have only been four episodes released so far and we've seen all of them. Oppa recommended that we watch a movie first while waiting. He's been teasing me that we have to know Korean history if we really want to move there. Well, he might actually be serious about indoctrinating me because he's been making me watch historical K movies - The Man Standing Next last time and A Taxi Driver this time. And his choices have been good. 

Story


A Taxi Driver tells the story of a German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter (Thomas Kretschmann) who hired a taxi driven by Kim Man Seob (Song Kang Ho) to take him to Gwangju so he can report on the on-going uprising there. The two took different routes to avoid numerous checkpoints. They befriended protesters from Gwangju. They tried their best to evade the soldiers running after them. Man Seob stayed with Jurgen until he safely boarded his flight back to Japan to tell the world about the atrocities happening in Gwangju. 

The Good

After watching this film, I can finally articulate what I found problematic with Juror 8. Both films were based on true stories. I was disappointed to learn later on that Juror 8 was very loosely based on the real story and yet it was not able to make the movie compelling enough, given all the freedom they had to change things in the story. On the contrary, A Taxi Driver was compelling enough for me even before I researched on how close it was to the real story. I learned later on that A Taxi Driver did deviate from the actual story but not as much as Juror 8 did. And that made me like it more - it was quite accurate and it was interesting. 


The best thing I liked about this film was the process of Kim Man Seob's political awakening. He started out completely clueless about the events in Gwangju - probably because he was brainwashed by what was being shown on mainstream media. He even mentioned that he served in the army before and he knew that soldiers would never abuse their authority. Then, Man Seob began to hear the accounts of protesters like Gu Jae Sik (Ryu Jun Yeol), a university student. Although he listened, he still had his doubts. And when he finally saw things for himself, he realized that indeed, there were atrocities being committed in Gwangju. And while he initially wanted to run away, he came back and even helped save the injured. Man Seob's character is proof that it's never too late to be woke. We have to be patient with and help those who are still in the process of discovering themselves and where they stand with regard to political issues. 


Another realization I had after watching the film was that Koreans owe whatever freedom they enjoy now to those who sacrificed their lives during the Gwangju Uprising - people like the students and the taxi drivers who risked their lives to save the injured and used their bodies to block soldiers.  

Films like A Taxi Driver are important pieces of history that people need to go back to. We must do this so we will not fall into the trap of dismissing dissenters as mere rioters. People need to realize that these protesters are also fighting for our rights. The protests might cause us some inconvenience and discomfort but the people who are actually out there on the streets are sacrificing and suffering so much more. The entertainment industry has a social responsibility to create films like this so people will never forget what happened and those guilty would not succeed in revising history. 

The soldiers shown on the film were definitely abusive. Oppa was wondering how the Korean military overcame that "high and mighty" mindset/superiority complex. How and when did they evolve from abusive guardians of the people to real guardians of the people's welfare? It's amazing that they were able to accomplish that in such a short time. That's something that the Philippines needs training on. :) 


There were many familiar faces in this film - Mr. Nam from Encounter (Ko Chang Seok), Mr. Nam from Something in the Rain (Park Hyuk Kwon), Seagull from Prison Playbook (Lee Ho Chul), Chae Geun Sik from Suits (Choi Gwi Hwa), and some of the guests on House on Wheels (Uhm Tae Goo and Lee Jeong Eun). But my most favorite of all would have to be Ryu Jun Yeol's Jae Sik. It was so nice to see him in a bubblier role. He smiled a lot here compared to the reserved Jung Hwan in Reply 1988

Over all, I liked A Taxi Driver because it maintained a very good balance between historical and entertaining storytelling. 

Oppa says...4.5.

Noona says...4.5. 

08 September 2020

K Movie Review: Juror 8 (2019)

Writing this one's going to be tough. I watched this film last year when I was going crazy over Park Hyung Sik. For some reason, I forgot to review it. I can't even remember why. But Oppa's been bugging me to write this one so here I am. I will try my best to recall as much as I can. But this will probably be very short. I'm not even separating this into different sections. 
 
Juror 8 - Wikipedia
 
Juror 8 tells the story of South Korea's first jury trial in 2008. The movie is about a criminal case where a son was accused of murdering his mother for social welfare money. The accused pleaded guilty and a jury was formed to decide on his penalty. 
 
The movie walks us through the process of selecting jury members. It is a tedious process for the judge but one that is absolutely necessary if we want to have the most objective people in the jury box. 
 
Another interesting aspect of the movie was watching the dynamics among the jurors. Every person's background is highlighted to show how this affects decision-making depending on what each person values. It was nice to see how the jurors argued and debated over their verdict. 
 
Photo + Video] New Still and Trailer Added for the Upcoming Korean Movie  "Juror 8" @ HanCinema :: The Korean Movie and Drama Database 
 
It was interesting to see Park Hyung Sik in a different role. He was juror 8. His acting was okay although I still prefer the confident, cocky Park Hyung Sik in Strong Girl Bong Soon over the timid Kwon Nam Woo here. But I loved his character. I liked how his persistence led them to the truth and saved an innocent person from an erroneous verdict. 
 
Now that I think about it, I recall liking the film after watching it. But when I found out that it was very loosely based on the real story of what happened during the first jury trial, I lost interest. I am all for artistic license to change things here and there to make the story more appealing. But I would have loved it more if they at least kept the main details like on what crime was committed. I'm sure there's a way to put entertainment and history together like how it was done in The Man Standing Next. I just felt that this movie wasted an opportunity to make a historical contribution. 
 
Noona says...it's a 3.5.