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Korean movie recommendations ?

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Korean movie recommendations ?

Old 10-19-02, 04:05 AM
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Where's "Mago" on DVD?
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Old 10-19-02, 07:19 AM
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My Sassy Girl

- 1.85:1 anamorphic DD5.1.

A love story about a boy and a girl with a twist ending that caught me by surprise.

What makes it different from other boy girl romances?

Its the unconventional and funny character of the female lead and the very likeable male lead.

The Director's cut is a tad long and a little trimming won't go amiss but it plays well and I agree with all the good word that has gone already about the film.

Highly recommended ... makes you go all squishy inside ...

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Old 10-19-02, 07:26 AM
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My Wife is a Gangster

- anamorphic 1.85:1 DD5.1

Picture and sound - fine

A novelty film which is a little slapdash in finish. The plot centres around the female lead who has made various promises to a dying sister, one of which is to get married.

The black comedy only works occasionally and the film plays out like other Korean gangster movies I have seen during the last 3 months or so. Its stylised in places particularly during the fight scenes but they serve no purpose and looks out of place in the film.

Generally good comedy performances from the various male supports even if the joke ain't all that funny.

Likeable and very korean. See it if the idea appeals to you.


Last edited by cirrus888; 10-19-02 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 10-19-02, 07:31 AM
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Musa

- Anamorphic 2.35:1 DD5.1 Korean language with rough english subs.

Picture and sound a near reference quality - excellent

Film - Historical Epic about a band of korean soldiers who come across a Ming Princess and then spend the entire film dodging Mongol (YUAN) warriors.

Very stylish and visually exquiste to look at.

The characters are 1-dimensional and are all about honour but it worked for some strange reason.

The plot is really too thin to hold any interest but the set pieces are exciting to watch if not interesting.

Fight scenes are a little cut and paste ala gladiator (1st battle).

Summary - all style and no plot but still fun to watch.

Recently watched another Chinese epic - Chen Kaige's The emperor and the Assassin and that has everything MUSA doesn't.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:37 AM
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Il Mare (the Sea)

- HK R3 Non Anamorphic 1.85:1 DD5.1 & DTS Edko disc

Story about a time defying post box and how 2 people fall in love although 1 is from 2000 and the other 1998.

Its a romantic movie with a twist that works.

What stood out for me in this film was how beautiful and well put together every shot was which makes this the most polished korean film I have seen. The camera loves Jeon Ji-hyun and the environment she inhabits outdoor and indoor the same goes for the male lead.

The story moves along at a quiet and absorbing pace unlike its american counterparts which does everything over the top.

I really like this movie as its intelligent without being too clever and balances everything out in a way a movie should be.

The perfect time travelling love story.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:40 AM
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Hi Dharma

Released by Universe Laser & Video Co. Ltd.
Hong Kong R3 (Only)
NTSC Colour
96 Mins

OAR 1.85:1 Anamorphic
DVD-5
Korean DD5.1 and Cantonese DD5.1
English (Good), Chinese (Trad) and Chinese (Simp) Subs

Extras
- Star File Of Park Sang Myun
- 2 Theatrical Trailers (Korean and Cantonese)
- Trailer For Barking Dogs Never Bite

Ignoring the usual DVD-5 limitations e.g. black is not black the picture quality was very good with no compression artefacts present. The Korean DD5.1 soundtrack is excellent and the english subs on this HK DVD are better than Korean english subs in general although I have not seen the Korean version of this disc. Technical wise this is a great DVD-5 disc. No complaints.

Directed by first time director PARK Chul-kwan the film is about a bunch of gangsters (PARK Sang-myun) hiding out in a monastery and causing havoc to the daily rituals of the monks living there and so begins these comic situation film. The film is a very unassuming comedy in the vein of 4 weddings and a funeral. Not very funny but pleasant to watch all the same. The comedy was a big hit in Korea and runs smoother than My wife is a gangster which I found patchy.

Its a light comedy and if the idea appeals to you then you should enjoy it. I however would plump for the foul King or barking dogs never bite as funnier examples of Korean comedy.


Last edited by cirrus888; 11-17-02 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 10-19-02, 07:44 AM
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My Boss, My Hero

- Korean R3 Anamorphic 1.85:1 DD5.1

Great picture and sound no complaints.

Film - The modern day korean gangster is educated and intelligent. Our Hero feels he needs to get his high school diploma for the good of his gang. So begins the saga of our 20+ hero pretending to be a high school (secondary) student.

A polished film from start to finish. Its a genre jumping movie, hard hitting comedy, drama and gangland action. All 3 components work very well and are blended together to make a coherent and enjoyable movie.

The no.3 in charge (one with Flashy Shirts) is hilariously dumb, No.2 in charge takes care of the love aspects in the movie and the hero plays the fish out of water character spot on.

Loads and loads of hot Korean girls in this movie.

All in all very funny and recommended.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:47 AM
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The Quiet Family (1998)

- HK R3, 1.66:1, Korean DD2.0 only, Eng and Chin subs, DVD-5. Distributed by Modern.

Technical specs are nothing to write home about, adequete sound and picture. Compression problems abound and the source print spicks and specks throughout.

Subs frequently miss out words although the film isn't hard to follow. Modern is a newish small distributor and this DVD is poor compared to releases made by universe and mei ah. There are only 2 versions available this HK R3 or the Korean R3.

Film - Its a black comedy that was remade into a Takashi Miike movie Happiness of the katakuris. I haven't seen the Japanese version but I don't think it could be any funnier than the original which is well made and well acted.

Its a Story about a family who buys a lodge out in the woods and all the guests who turn up die leaving them to clean up the mess.

Its a one joke movie but everything moves along at a quick pace and the characters all have their little stories to act out.

The actors are not really given much to do but each one is clearly defined and the film never bores.

I recommend this Korean black comedy.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:50 AM
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Attack At The Gas Station

- Korean R3, Korean DD5.1 only, good english subs.
Non anamorphic 1.85:1.

Technical - Image looked squished to me and it actually looks better when I expand it on my projector. A little dirty but colours are good and sharp. Sound is also pretty active and has good use of rears.

Film - I've been meaning to watch this right at the start of my Korean cinema exploration as the whole idea of the film really appealed to me.

I didn't want to watch the HK R3 version as it was pan and scam so I had to finally fork out for the Korean DVD.

The film was not as funny as I anticipated but thats probably due to the high expectations I had built up for this movie after all this time.
Its original and contains a lot of Korean black humour that translates quite well on the whole.

4 youths decide to rob a petrol station, they find no money so they decide to run it while holding various characters hostage.

If this idea appeals to you then you won't be disappointed and I enjoyed it.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:52 AM
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Guns & Talks

- HK R3 DVD9 Anamorphic 1.85:1 (Could be 1.77:1?) DTS and DD5.1 Korean + Cantonese DD2.0. Good Eng Subs. Barebones, 8 chapters + Trailers.

Technical - DTS sound is loud and well spaced. Picture quality is also fine although a little bright when white is shown but I don't think it has anything to with the DVD. Blacks are black and colours are true and crisp. No compression artefacts and the DVD has a clean print.

Film - Comedy about 4 gangsters. Contains little in the way of laughs but when its funny its dead funny. The characters are likeable but the story is aimless. Tries to be an assassin action movie at the same time and this is where it fails. I was disappointed with this after reading good things about it.

Great DVD for under a fiver but an average comedy at best. Does contain some original scenes worth seeing however.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:55 AM
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Ditto

- HK R0, DVD-5 1.85:1 DD5.1 Barebones Meh Ah Disc.

Technical Sound and picture are both average.
Sound quality does not affect the film much but picture is dirty and soft ... still more than acceptable though.

Film - Similar plot grabber to Frequency (2000) but where frequency fulfils all the technical wizardry that could be wrung out from the plotline, Ditto relies solely on the romantic "what if" notion of the idea.

The comparisons between the 2 movies end there and Ditto develops into a love story with a very different ending.

I enjoyed the lead characters performance that contained dialogue that was funny and stimulating. Its quiet and moves at a leisurely pace as the film unfolds much like Il Mare but lacks Il Mare's cinematography and tight editing.

Was I touched by the movie? I guess I was ...

Recommended to romantics.

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Old 10-19-02, 07:56 AM
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Last Witness

- Korean R3, Anamorphic 1.85:1 (cropped from OAR 2.35:1) DD5.1 DTS with extras.

Technical - reference quality sound and picture, however it did seem cramped due the cropping.

Film - A modern day murder mystery with flashbacks to the korean war. The story unfolds in a structured and measured way as each character tells their story.

Contains some excellent action scenes and is well shot and polished.

The ending is one of the best I've seen in years for a murder mystery and is very Hitchcockian but still korean/asian in flavour.

I liked this movie better than Shiri.

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Old 10-19-02, 08:01 AM
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Phew! thats just about it!
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Old 10-22-02, 02:06 AM
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The Power of KwangWon Province

Korean R3 open matte 4:3 aspect ratio (theatrical was 1.85:1). DD5.1 and good english subs. Barebones apart from 2 trailers.

Good picture and sound. I did not feel the picture was cropped at all and I could see the boom mic occasionally at the top and bottom of picture.
Like back to the future and stanley kubrick movies the film was reformatted for 1.85:1 theatrical release.

There have been reports that this DVD will not work on some players and it just happens that my main player is one of them. I did finally get it to work by a combination of chapter skipping and reloading.

Film - I can't really work out all the nuances in this movie but it is very watchable and it is similar to films like 3 colours trilogy in all respects.

Plot - Sang-Kwon, a college instructor in his early thirties is married but in love with Ji-Sook one of his students.
The film begins after they estranged separation, Ji-Sook and Sang-Kwon go to KwangWon province with other friends at the same time.

Can I recommend this? ...its hard to say ... although I'm glad I've seen this film ... it did leave me cold and wondering about the harsh realities of love and life ... it does come together very nicely at the end unlike most "arthouse movies".

The movie is character driven and the location shots are nice although not as good as something like Take care of my cat

Unconventional film making in a conventional kinda way ...

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Old 10-22-02, 04:15 AM
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Just a quick thank you for posting these short reviews + captures. I ordered most the non-action titles you mentioned with yesasia's free eu shipping. Looking forward to TAKE CARE OF MY CAT in particular.

Cheers,
jeroen.
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Old 10-22-02, 04:19 AM
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Oh quick recommendation from me, ASAKO IN RUBY SHOES, for those who haven't read my comments at asian dvd forum:

http://indie.imdb.com/Title?0321298

About the dvd, two versions exist, one korean one hk:

http://global.yesasia.com/en/prdTran...&code=c&did=0&

http://global.yesasia.com/en/prdTran...&code=c&did=0&

The cheap one is 4:3 (p&s or full-frame i don't know) and region-free with zero extras. The more expensive one is 185 wide + 16:9 enhanced, r3 and with some nice extras. This is the one i bought.

I put up some captures here (minor spoilers):

http://members.chello.nl/j.komen1/asako/Asako.htm

About pq, first the good news: absolutely no edge enhancement, excellent 7.5 ire black level with plenty shadow detail, vibrant colors with true skintones and good detail. Not sure about sharpness because i had to watch it in bob mode on the htpc. Which brings me to the bad news: it's video-sourced with major de-interlacing problems. When the camera is moving it actually looks like 24fps slow-motion, with terrible stuttering and flicker. I have no idea how this will look on an interlaced display because i don't have one, but on a progressive setup without faroudja dcdi de-interlacing (can't wait for my holo3dgraph, this disc will be my first torture test) it looks hideous. Oh there's also some minor chroma delay, and some dirt on the print here and there. Hardly a problem.

Seeing how it's a japanese/korean co-production i'm keeping my fingers crossed for a superior looking r2j dvd soon.

That said i'm sure that if you love the film as much as i do you simply stop noticing any pq problem after a few minutes. Not everyone's cup of tea i'm sure but if you like slow-moving drama with a touch of quirky humor and original visual style be sure to check it out. Parts of it reminded me of atom egoyan's EXOTICA, and to a lesser degree bernard rose's PAPERHOUSE. Both stories really spoke to me and touched me, especially the one about the depressed japanese girl. When towards the end the soundtrack plays jigsaw's SKY HIGH ('you've blown it all sky high') it's a really sad but perfect moment. The entire soundtrack is wonderful btw, subtly underlining sad moments but never in the foreground. Despite it's complicated structure of jumping back and forth between multiple storylines it's one of these films that (to my warbled little mind at least) just make sense start to finish. The ending where the two stories come together is far-fetched, but i like to think of it more as a fairy tale fantasy ending and thus it works. Loved the visuals! The use of freeze frame was brilliant. It only happens two or three times, but at just the right moment.

Highly recommended.
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Old 10-22-02, 01:31 PM
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Nowhere to Hide

- Its all flashy editing with absolutely no plotand very little action, thats all there is too it ... oh yeah theres lots of running in it too ...

The HK DVD suffers from its low compression rate, the blacks are never black and it suffers from artefacts, the picture is also inconsistently sharp in one scene while at other times the picture is soft.

After the initial wow factor (1st 5mins) it gets boring real quick as everything about it is 2 dimensional.

Poor ...
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Old 10-22-02, 01:33 PM
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Friend

Story about 4 boys who grew up together ... 2 become gangsters but the plot is not as important as the message it puts through ... Always stick by and believe your friends no matter what the circumstances.

Again Korean cinema has shown me what it is to live in a violent world. Teachers physically abusing students, students abuse each other and then they grow up and kill each other ... what a happy world Koreans inhabit

The above approach to film making has given me the same sort of feeling and satisfaction that a paul verhoeven movie gives me ... no stone is left unturned and everything is revealed before your very eyes. You can accuse Korean film makers of not leaving anything to the imagination but I like this approach to film making as it tends to be stuff I have not encountered before.

It would be a fair assumption that what we see today in Korean cinema will be reflected in western films 10 - 20 years from now ... I've always thought paul verhoeven was a lone revolutionary but in Korean cinema there are a whole army of them.

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Old 10-22-02, 01:35 PM
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Shiri

- OK the Korean film that probably sparked of all the present interest in Korean movies today.

If it was not for all the violence particularly at the beginning then this film will be no different from any other special agent espionage scenario movie.
Professionally made and has a lot of action.
However the love plotline is what made it interesting for me despite it being cliché but it worked.

The edko DTS DVD I rented is a DVD9 which explains the rather excellent picture on this disc unlike Friend above which was on a DVD 5 and had lots of associated compression artefact problems, despite having all the right colours and clarity.
Shiri had none of these problems.

The DTS soundtrack was only average as the rears were hardly used despite the amount of bullets let off in this movie.
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Old 10-22-02, 01:36 PM
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The Foul King

Technical: HK R3 Anamorphic 2:35:1 DVD 9 DTS 5.1 and DD 5.1.

Picture and sound has no major problems, not reference quality but excellent all the same.

Film: This is one of those we all lead a mundane existence pictures so why don't we take up something unusual like pro wrestling and use it to right the wrongs of our everyday life kind of pictures ie billy elliot, ballroom dancing, full monty etc etc

Its a comedy that is well acted and scripted theres nothing here you have not seen before but its still funny and more exciting than its british counterparts ... if the idea appeals to you then you will enjoy it immensely if the idea doesn't you can't help but think its still a good movie.

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Old 10-22-02, 01:37 PM
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AFRIKA
(Adoring Four Revolutionary Idols In Korean Area)

- Anamorphic 1.85:1 DD5.1 DVD-9

Road movie about 4 girls and self discovery. Its a black comedy and although the girls are fun to watch the movie provides few laughs, its not a bad movie but it doesn't offer anything that you have not seen before except that its film in Korea and stars 4 Hot Korean babes.

Barking dogs never bite contains funnier female bonding and intereaction scenes with 2 girls than Afrika does with 4 girls.

However, Afrika is hipper and should appeal to the young and young at heart.

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Old 10-22-02, 01:39 PM
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I have been thinking about ASAKO IN RUBY SHOES and I'm glad I didn't pick up the HK version. Seeing that it is on distributor sale at the moment I might as well pick up the Korean version.
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Old 10-22-02, 01:41 PM
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Love Wind Love Song

HK R3 (R0) 4:3 DD5.1. DVD-5, Poor Eng subs. Warning says on DVD package that it is widescreen it is actually 4:3.

The picture quality is acceptable but far from good. Soft on many occasion with flicks and specks. Colours are mute and picture is cropped. Sound is good though.

Run of the mill Korean romance that I enjoyed. Well made, well acted and well told ... the ending was a little cheesy though. Also a tad more commercial from the usual K romances I've seen although no where as commercial as HK romances ones.

Another Korean romance to add to my list but this one is near the bottom not because its rubbish but because the rest are so good.

Poor HK 4:3 disc. Avoid.

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Old 10-26-02, 06:21 AM
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Re: Friend

cirrus888,

I'm curious, regarding Friend, which version did you view? The video quality of the Korean Enter One version of the film is so much better than the HK Mega Star version it isn't even funny. On the Korean disc, the colors are rich and the overall transfer appears very sharp and clean. The HK version suffers from oversharpening and too steep a contrast curve which affects the tones and highlights the artifacts. The difference is like night and day.

Thank you for your reviews of Korean films. I really enjoyed Take Care of My Cat, which I admittedly bought because of actress Bae Doona, who starred in Barking Dogs Never Bite and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the latter of which is my top pick for Korean films released on DVD in 2002. It's a different beast than JSA and in my opinion a much better film. It isn't for everyone though, as this is a "feel-bad" movie in every sense of the word.
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Old 10-26-02, 08:49 AM
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I watched the HK Edition of friend and I agree its a poor-ish DVD-5 release.

I have recently ordered:

Sympathy for Mr. Vengence
No Blood no tears
Public Enemy
Break out (light my spark)
Art museum By the Zoo
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