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: Die Bad
by | December 8, 2013 | 16 Comments
While violent men are not universal in Korean cinema, an argument can be made that the large presence of violence among men in Korean cinema reflects on the violence that is endemic to that segment of Korean society. Professor Kyung Hyun Kim argues in The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema that this violence reflects Korea’s transition... More »


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 »
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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 »