Monday, February 20, 2006

Sarangni (Blossom Again)

Swept away.

Sarangni (Blossom Again)
Starring Kim Jeung-eun (Marrying the Mafia) / Lee Tae-seong
Directed Jung Ji-woo (Happy End)

Love moves in mysterious ways. And it can go all Star Trek on you. Parallel universes overlap and asks you: would you love the same person all over again? A woman about to hit her thirties suddenly meets a younger reincarnation of her first love, a high schooler who doesn't know his math but oh boy, can he kiss (see above). Just like the way she remembers him. She believes. She insists. She loves. And there's no fighting that. When the real guy shows up
for dinner --- all grown-up, forgetful and disappointing --- sideways glances do the talking. No explosions here. No Happy End irony. For those of us praying for that second chance, a possibility, small or miraculously obvious, is good enough. ****

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dalkomhan Insaneng (A Bittersweet Life)

Hurts so good.

Dalkomhan Insaneng (A Bittersweet Life)

Starring : Ro Ha Kim (Memories of Murder)
Director: Kim Ji Won (A Tale of Two Sisters)

It's fed the genre countless times before: henchman gets personal, gets backstabbed, gets even. Heroic Bloodshed jackpots when it regards itself as an apotehosis of pain. More blood shed, less heroism. The pain of impossible love. The pain of a knife wedged in your back. The pain of vendetta against friends. Pain - - - all makes and models - - - is the metatheme of the action movie. The chickenshit ones - - - hi-ho Joel Silver! - - - pull punches, strike poses, sugarcoat. The gutsy ones deconstruct the machismo, count the costs, lance the boil, let it bleed. The gutsy ones hurt. Like hell. Like this. * * * *

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Yasu-wa minyeo (Beast and the Beauty)

Pretty on the inside.

Yasu-wa minyeo (Beast and the Beauty)
Starring Shin Min-a (Volcano High) / Ryoo Seung-bum (Arahan)
Director Lee Gye-byuk

A comedy of errors that has all been done before but with the comedic punch of Arahan
. Blind Hae-ju (the effervescent Shin) is about to undergo eye surgery and can't wait to see Dong-gun (Ryoo). When there's not much to see, really. In desperation Dong-gun gets a couple of surgeries himself, which result in painfully funny bits --- the missing eyebrow, the sketched eyebrow. The drawn eyebrow over the drawn eyebrow. When a dashing cop enters the scene, looking exactly the way Dong-gun described himself to Hae-ju, desperation turns to pathetic. Laughing with tears in your eyes is always the best kind. ***1/2