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: Black Republic
by | November 30, 2013 | 8 Comments
After the massacre of democracy activists in Gwangju by the South Korean military in May 1980, the South Korean government under Chun Doo-hwan enacted an even more strict level of censorship on the film industry. One of the many rules of film censorship included that films cannot have any anti-government messages, including prohibitions against any... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Take Care of My Cat
by | November 18, 2013 | 22 Comments
School is a tremendously influential social experience for many Koreans; often the friends you make in the classroom can be your friends for life. And yet, it’s a common experience that even the closest of friends in school can find themselves drifting apart in its wake. Take Care of My Cat, the debut feature by writer-director Jung... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: The Quiet Family
by | November 11, 2013 | 32 Comments
Director Kim Jee-woon is one of the most successful directors in Korean cinema and is responsible for a range of hit films from the so-called kimchi Western of The Good, the Bad, and the Weird back to A Tale of Two Sisters, a film that is arguably one of the greatest horror films made. With a filmography full... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Black House
by | October 19, 2013 | 20 Comments
Horror films are a staple of summer in Korea and the Korean film industry. Typically shot with a more limited budget, they might never take in much money, but the profit margins for successful ones tend to be high, and I can only guess that they show up in Korean summers because the Korean youth... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Brainwave
by | October 13, 2013 | 9 Comments
While I wasn’t fully satisfied with the direction or the production aspects of the film My Girlfriend Is an Agent (a.k.a. Level 7 Civil Servant), I can’t argue that the comedy had quite a few amusing moments and certainly wasn’t surprised to find that it managed to become one of the most popular Korean comedies... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: YMCA Baseball Team
by | October 6, 2013 | 11 Comments
I picked up a copy of YMCA Baseball Team because it had all the ingredients for success in the credits. The cast boasts big stars like Song Kang-ho, Kim Hye-soo, and Hwang Jung-min. The writer-director Kim Hyun-suk was later responsible for the modestly enjoyable Cyrano Agency. It’s got a great period setting at the turn of... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: 200 Pound Beauty
by | September 30, 2013 | 64 Comments
Plastic surgery is a thing in Korea in a way that would surprise the denizens of most countries. Only since I started living in Los Angeles, spending time in the heart of the Hollywood entertainment machine, have I started to overhear discussions about plastic surgery in the United States that even come close to the... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Oh! Brothers
by | September 23, 2013 | 11 Comments
2003 turned out to be banner year for Korean film, boasting a number of successful high profile films in Korea, some of which, like Memories of Murder, A Tale of Two Sisters and Old Boy, would gain cult followings internationally. The year also proved to be fertile ground for a number of comedies as well.... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Covertly, Grandly
by | September 21, 2013 | 116 Comments
It’s that mid-cycle lull in dramaland, aka the perfect time for that most honored of critical traditions: reviewing movies I’d been meaning to watch but hadn’t quite gotten around to yet. It’s a very strenuous decision-making process which involves me, a hat, and three or four recognizable movie names from the past year or so—culminating... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Hanji
by | September 9, 2013 | 11 Comments
Hanji is the name for Korea’s traditional paper, made from the bark of dak, a tree that grows in some mountainous areas of Korea. It is also the international title of director Im Kwon-taek’s most recent film, which is unsurprisingly about the traditional Korean paper. In this film, director Im crosses the line between exploration... More »