Chungmuro/Film Reviews

Longer-form reviews on South Korean films.

Chungmuro is a district in Seoul that came to be known as the original center of the South Korean film industry (think: Korean Hollywood). Though many studios moved away from Chungmuro, it is still known as home to artists and film culture.
Archive for the ‘Chungmuro/Film Reviews’ Category

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Ode to My Father (2014)
by | January 16, 2015 | 25 Comments
Ode to My Father (or Gukje Market, 국제시장) really lives up to its English title, being a kind of summary of chunks of Korean history from the Korean War into the 1980s, representing some of the biggest events in the lives of many Korean seniors. The film has been very well-received by Korean audiences, with... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Harmonium in My Memory (1999)
by | January 4, 2015 | 14 Comments
I think one of the best topics for nostalgia films is the first crush. The crushes of our youths seem to be the kind of topic that always comes up when we meet with old friends and I think that’s true of cinema as well. Certainly with Korean cinema; nostalgia films are an old enterprise... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Peking Restaurant (1999)
by | December 28, 2014 | 18 Comments
The food created by Chinese immigrants to Korea is a major part of Korean culture, like how American Chinese food has become embedded in American cuisine. A lot of Koreans eat no small amount of jjajangmyeon in their lifetimes; such is the prevalence of this culinary tradition. And, in 1999, Korea even produced a film... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: A Blood Pledge (Whispering Corridors 5, 2009)
by | November 15, 2014 | 2 Comments
In 2009, eleven years since the release of the genre-defining Whispering Corridors, and four since since the fourth entry into the series, Voice, the fifth Whispering Corridors film was released. Entitled A Blood Pledge (여고괴담5: 동반자살), it might also be the last Whispering Corridors film, as it’s now been over five years since its release... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Closer to Heaven (2009)
by | October 17, 2014 | 18 Comments
Director Park Jin-pyo is best known for unconventional melodramas like Too Young to Die and You Are My Sunshine, but when I heard about the basic premise of Closer to Heaven (내 사랑 내 곁에), I thought perhaps director Park had finally decided to make a conventional terminal-illness melodrama. And in terms of its story,... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Forever the Moment (2008)
by | October 5, 2014 | 10 Comments
Forever the Moment (우리 생애 최고의 순간, aka The Greatest Moment of Our Lives) is an underdog film about underdogs. Despite the high productivity of the Korean film industry, sports films are relatively uncommon compared to other genres. And Forever the Moment is a sports film. About handball. But despite the relatively obscurity of handball... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Voice (Whispering Corridors 4, 2005)
by | August 31, 2014 | 6 Comments
It seems to me that as the Whispering Corridors series goes on, the degree of commentary the films make about high school lessens in each installment. The original Whispering Corridors was a scathing indictment of the abuses that youth endure at school and the second pointed a finger at the rigidity of social structures and... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: If You Were Me (2003)
by | August 9, 2014 | 8 Comments
In 2001, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea was formed. A government body tasked with promoting human rights in Korea in accordance with the principles set forth by the UN General Assembly, they can probably list many things that they have accomplished. But for me, one of the most visible accomplishments is the funding... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Wishing Stairs (2003)
by | July 14, 2014 | 16 Comments
The third film in the Whispering Corridors series, Wishing Stairs (여고괴담 세 번째 이야기: 여우계단), was released four years after the second, Memento Mori. While the original Whispering Corridors and its immediate follow-up were in many ways genre-defining, the wave of popular horror films that followed them in Korea and elsewhere in Asia meant that... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: The Flu
by | June 29, 2014 | 15 Comments
In anticipation of Jang Hyuk’s return to the small screen this week, it seems only proper to take a look at his work in last year’s big budget event film The Flu, which made only a moderate box office splash as the twentieth highest-grossing film of 2013 while garnering absolutely zero awards, and… huh. I... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Waikiki Brothers (2001)
by | June 29, 2014 | 5 Comments
Im Soon-rye (surname sometimes romanized Lim or Yim) is quite possibly the most prominent female director in Korean cinema. Since her critically acclaimed first film, Three Friends in 1996, she’s directed six full-length feature films, including one commercially successful mainstream film with Forever the Moment in 2008, as well as contributing to several omnibus project... More »