Yomigaeru!

You may have noticed a long period of silence on my end.  This is not one of those websites that loses its momentum and calcifies at its prime, doomed to perpetually haunt the web in a strange, still parody of life, trapped in eternal youth while its creator succumbs to the inevitable entropy of his flawed physical shell.  A ghost spawned by the mind of the living, incapable of dying while the internet perpetuates, and forgotten by its own father, just like all his other children (well, that’s not true, I actually managed to delete most of them – I don’t like clutter).

Anyway, you get the point.  I’m still here.  I’ve just been busy, that’s all.

In large part that’s because I got accepted into university in September, so I’ve been doing all this stuff academically for a while now.  Not much to report there on the whole, but I’m sure I’ll be hanging out here a bit more in the near future just to start networking again.

So yeah, Back in the Saddle.

Oh, yeah:  Happy Christmas.

– Tiger

Advertisements

London K-Drama Screenings at the KCCUK

Korean Class MASSIVE

London Korean Drama Club KCCUK 2015

London Korean Drama Screenings #2:

– Kill Me, Heal Me
– Good Doctor

Time/Date: Thursday 2 April 2015, 7pm to 10pm

Location: Korean Cultural Centre UK

Earlier this month, a very exciting new programme started at the Korean Cultural Centre UK. In collaboration with the London Korean Drama Club, the KCCUK will be screening pilot episodes of new and popular Korean television dramas on the big screen in the multi-purpose hall.

This is very exciting for all UK fans as even with it’s growing popularity, it is still quite hard access English subbed Korean dramas in the UK. But together with the KCCUK, the London Korean Drama Club (LKDC) will be introducing us to fun and new dramas with screenings on the first Thursday of each month.

The LKDC is a very hard working club that is dedicated to promoting Korean television dramas in the UK. They hold regular meet-ups…

View original post 754 more words

A Hard Day (2014)

A Hard Day (2010)

Director:  Kim Seong-Hoon

Writer:  Kim Seong-Hoon

Starring:  Lee Sun-Kyun, Jo Jin-Woong, Jeong Man-Shik

Continuing the theme of crime thrillers, this time I’ll be taking a look at the darkly comic A Hard Day, by writer/director Kim Seong-Hoon (How the Lack of Love Affects Two Men, The Guy Was Cool).  In this movie, Lee Sun-Kyun (Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, R-Point) plays a crooked homicide detective whose attempt to cover up a fatal hit-and-run accident leads to an increasingly desperate series of misadventures:

Detective Go Geon-soo (Lee Sun-Kyun) is attending his mother’s funeral when he gets a call from work:  Internal Affairs have turned up unannounced, and they’re about to find the stash of bribe money in his desk that he’s looking after for the whole team.  Racing back to the station, he swerves to avoid hitting a dog that wanders into the road . . . and ends up hitting a man instead, killing him stone dead.  Desperate to get back and deal with Internal Affairs, and to avoid further scrutiny, he shoves the body into his trunk and drives off.  Thus begins the titular “hard day”, which quickly spirals out of hand.

A Hard Day is only Kim Seong-Hoon’s third screenplay, and his second turn in the director’s chair, but you’d never guess that.  The movie is written and edited to perfection, building from a running start to maintain a powerful feeling of tension and paranoia, dragging the viewer along with Detective Go on his self-inflicted rollercoaster of desperation until the inevitably violent climax.  Elements of humour are injected with perfect timing, and at just the right quantity to balance out the darker nature of the main story.  There is no wastage or bloat anywhere in the script, and the physicality of the film’s direction contributes perfectly to the storyline and character development.  A scene near the beginning, in which Detective Go tries to hide the body in the funeral home, is especially masterful.

The cast are also marvellous.  Detective Go has few, if any, redeeming features – he never hurts anyone on purpose unless they deserve it, and he’s fiercely loyal to his colleagues and his family, but he is, largely, corrupt and self-interested.  Still, Lee Sun-Kyun manages to elicit sympathy for the luckless protagonist as we watch him flounder, struggle, and survive by the skin of his teeth through increasingly disastrous scenarios.  It’s difficult not to feel for him as his own actions, and his terrible luck, drag him deeper and deeper into trouble.  In fact, as the only major role other than the villain, Lee almost single-handedly carries the movie.

Almost, that is, except that said villainous role is handled with care by Jo Jin-Woong (The Front LineHwayi: A Monster Boy), whose slimy, creepy confidence wonderfully offsets Lee’s twitchy energy.  Jo plays the character with such oily charmlessness, and makes him such an unlikeable antagonist, that the hapless Detective Go seems positively heroic by comparison.  Parts of his performance are so smoothly confident that they appear to be ad-libbed, and it’s a genuine joy to watch the actor take such ownership of every scene.

So, in summary, A Hard Day is nothing if not excellent.  As much as it pains me to give so many high scores in a row, I’m going to have to give it an 8.5/10.  I’m tempted to score it higher, but you cynical bastards probably wouldn’t believe me.  For what it’s worth, the movie is so perfectly timed that the dramatic beats start to become predictable; the timing and nature of the conflict work largely to an established formula.  Like many movies in this genre, the third act – and especially the climax – have to play out in a certain way, and the success of it depends on whether or not this works for you.  The execution, however, is flawless.

Anyway, I’ve managed to build up a bit of a backlog recently.  I’ve got five or six movies floating around my brain right now, including the latest from Lee Jeong-Beom – No Tears for the Dead – which deserves careful consideration.  Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I feel I should review something particularly nihilistic for the occasion.

I remain,

*Tiger*

Kimchibilly

I have a confession to make.

I didn’t know what I was doing when I started this blog.  I know – minds blown.

I first started this thing because I’ve been watching a lot of Asian cinema, for a long, long time.  My first experiences were with the UK’s Channel 4, way back in the mid to late nineties, when they started showing  not only high-quality anime – Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Cyber City Oedo 808, 3×3 Eyes, and a ton of other stuff that seems to be buried beneath an onslaught of bullshit these days – but also the  classic kung fu cinema of Jackie Chan and everything else from that era.  Tsui Hark, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, and Tony Chiu Wai Leung are just a few of my indelible cinematic influences.

Eventually, though, you see enough of this stuff and you have to start taking it seriously.  I didn’t even realise how seriously I was taking it until I started writing about it.  I found that I loved movies from different parts of Asia for different reasons, and I started identifying the cultural and stylistic differences between, say, South Korean and Hong Kong cinema, to the point where it felt like I had something intelligent to say about the concept.  I’m barely scraping the surface of it all, and I know I’m only just starting to learn any of these languages in a meaningful way, but there’s really nothing like the feeling of opening a window into all of these new worlds.

Anyway, before I start to sound too pretentious, I wrote this post for a reason.  I wanted to introduce you all to one of my new favourite bands:  the Rocktigers.

Velvet Geena, the lead vocalist (does she know that her nom de guerre sounds like a euphemism for “vagina”?  I suspect so) pioneered the Korean rockabilly scene, which has inevitably become known as “Kimchibilly”.  I first noticed them when they produced this beautiful piece:

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Anyway, that’s enough for that little interlude.  I’ll soon be back to half-baked opinions about movies you’re never going to watch.

And yes, I did just edit this post.  It’s my blog, so there.

I remain,

-Tiger-

The London Korean Film Festival 2014

Thanks to my mother (thanks, mum!) I have just been made aware of the existence of the London Korean Film Festival, at www.koreanfilm.co.uk.

If you’re into Korean cinema – which I assume you must be, otherwise why would you be giving me any kind of attention at all – and you’re in the UK, then you couldn’t do better than to take a look at these guys.