If anyone can find a way to craft a spectacular vampire story at a time when the very idea of another could turn the stomach of almost any movie goer, it’s certainly Park Chan-wook. He manages to give us not only a fresh take on the still over saturated genre, but arguably the best to date. Thirst is an absolute masterpiece, and for many outspoken fans it is Parks best film to date (though I have to disagree and give that title to his earlier Mr Vengeance).
Archives For Jeff
When the credits began to role after Accident concluded I will admit I didn’t know how to feel. I was pretty sure I had just watched a pretty great Hong Kong thriller, but wasn’t sure how much I actually liked it. After taking some time to absorb what I had watched I realized that I did in fact like it quite a bit, my initial reaction was caused by the film itself, which had just managed to take me on a mental journey that I wasn’t expecting. And it did so by taking me on this journey through a very specific perspective of the events that occurred. Accident is not a very long film, in clocks in just under 90 minutes, but what it manages to do in that short amount of time is much more then may two hour of more thrillers ever did.
When Band of Brothers was released on HBO over a decade ago, it taught a very important lesson about what makes a war story, a truly memorable one to tell. It’s not the large scale bombings, epic battle scenes or the excessive gore. No, what really makes for a lasting story about the horrors of war is showing us the human side. Telling stories about comradery, brotherhood, and the horrors of war through the eyes of average people whose position any one of us could have found ourselves in if we were born in a different generation. The Front Line does just this; it doesn’t tell a story about the Korean War itself, it tells a story about a group of men stuck within it.
Imagine that during World War II, Japan had allied with the US, and the bombs were not dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but on Berlin. In Si-myung Lee’s 2009 Lost Memories, that is the reality.
Kim Jee-woon has only directed six feature length films, some of which are considered nothing short of masterpieces by films experts and fans alike, the rest still being excellent bodies of work. A tale of Two Sisters and A Bittersweet Life are two that stand out the most among his short but memorable pallet. One a dark and violent tale of a broken man out for revenge, the other a creepy dip into the horror genre, but more so a deep character study, and some superb story telling. You might call I Saw the Devil a combination of the two. Though it lacks the “horror” elements of Tale of Two Sisters, it still embodies Kim’s ability to carefully craft some truly memorable characters, and tell a rich story in the process. And like A Bittersweet Life, you can expect some truly brutal violence. I Saw the Devil is violent, very very violent, and it doesn’t hold back one bit. It makes sure you as the viewer are squirming in your seat and almost feeling the pain being shown on the screen, and believe me there are times you will be doing just that.
*The 2009 Best Foreign Language Film Academy award winner.(and deservedly so!)
Yojiro Takita’s Departures is not only one of the best Japanese films I have seen, but one of the best films period. Even after multiple viewings over the course of almost three years since I first watched it, I am still in awe. Departures is a truly beautiful story about a failed cellist who gives up his big city life, and moves back to his hometown. Then through circumstances best described as “fate”, a typo in the want ads of a newspaper leads him to discover his calling as a mortician. Not only does this change his life, but it would lead him to re-discover lost parts of his own past.
If you look at the posters for Oasis, you will see a quote calling it a “Brave Film”. The fact that it can be considered such an unconventional and ‘Brave’ piece of work only helps reinforce one of its major themes. Love is supposed to be the one thing everybody wants in life, something that is deserved by everyone regardless of their decisions, or the path they decide to follow. However in our society love is not always excepted if it falls outside the general picturesque. Lee Chang-dong’s film touches such themes with a bold hand by telling a love story shared by a mentally unstable ex-convict, and a young woman suffering from cerebral palsy. It’s a story about two people whose personal disabilities have left them simply swept aside from society, and family. Only to be brought to one another through fate and seeing beyond each others physical differences they find what can easily be called true love.
There is no denying that when you first hear a brief plot summery for The Chaser you will most likely scratch your head, then again that’s the wonderful world of Korean Cinema! In a Nutshell, a detective turned pimp, starts losing his girls to a serial killer and uses his professional skills and connections to start a personal manhunt for the suspect. However the hunt will be heavily skewed by wave after wave of frustrating red tape in what appears to be a slight at a broken justice system.
I wanted to start my contribution to The 2012 Korean Blogathon with a bang! I wanted to start with something big, something explosive, something exciting, an edge of your seat thrill ride! Well, I didn’t. Instead I decided to share my thought on one of the most unique and quirky films I have ever seen, and one that I truly love. I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay is one of my personal favorite films from my absolute favorite Korean Director, Park Chan-wook. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Over the years Park has delivered us some unforgettable films, going back to 2000’s political thriller-masterpiece JSA. Then immersing himself in the internationally acclaimed vengeance trilogy (Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance). For Cyborg we get the opportunity to see a different side of Park, the romantic comedy side. Don’t let that frighten you, because this is not your typical romance comedy. Remember, it’s a romantic comedy written and directed by Park Chan-wook. . .
Why write about Taxi Driver? It’s a genuine classic, and anyone who has ever had any interest in it has probably watched it, and I would think with maybe the exception of a few probably at least liked it. I find it hard to believe that anyone would be looking to a post such as this to find out about this film out of curiosity to watch it, it is almost 40 years old and has been talked about, and publicized about for decades. So why write about such an established film, on something as vast and crammed full of similar writings as the internet? Because it’s Taxi Driver that’s why, and It’s a film that I absolutely adore.