Miss Granny | Review

I’ve been catching some glimpses of Asian cinema despite my busy schedule (an addict will always be an addict), and saw this wonderful movie on Netflix. Check it out below if it’s been in your queue, but not sure if it’s worth a look.

miss-granny

Released in: 2014
Directed by: Hwang Dong-Hyuk

Actor Actress as Character
Shim Eun-Kyung as Oh Doo-Ri / Oh Mal-Soon
Na Moon-Hee as Oh Mal-Soon
Jin Young as Ji-Ha
Park In-Hwan as Mr. Park
Sung Dong-Il as Hyun-Chul

As I’ve grown older, I started to realize more and more the sacrifices my parents have endured. Not only did they not know a word of English upon arrival in America, they had no friends or family here and had to start from scratch. Somehow, they were able to put food on the table by taking any jobs they can get. My dad and older sister worked in a factory making name tags and my mom stayed at home since we were all very young at the time. In Vietnam, before the war broke out, my dad was studying to be a lawyer and my mom was a teacher with dreams of becoming a cook. That all changed when the uncontrollable circumstances of their lives cause them to lose their dreams. Miss Granny is a movie about them–my parents. The dreams they lost and all the possibilities that could’ve came alongside them.

Oh Mal-Soon is 74 years old with a son who’s a professor at a fancy university. She raised him alone when her husband died during the war. She’s proud her son made something of himself, but that feeling isn’t mutual unfortunately. While she did everything she could in order for her son to have the same chances as anybody else, her wishes became little more than a whisper and soon not a trace of it was left. For the most morbid of reasons, she decided to get a new picture taken before she gets any older and the picture for her funeral will be of an even older woman. Little did she know taking this photo will be her second chance to do what she wants to do and not what she had to do.

Continue reading →

Advertisements

A Tale of Two Sisters | Review

Halloween has already started for some, but it will officially be here in two more days. So why not scare yourself silly by having an Asian horror-flick night? Asian directors can make your cry, laugh, but they can also scare you enough to never go into a closet and close the door behind you ever again.

Released in: 2003
Directed by: Kim Ji-woon

Actor/Actress as Characters
Im Soo Jung as Su-mi
Moon Geun Young as Su-yeon
Yeom Jeong-ah as Eun-joo
Kim Kap-su as Moo-hyeon

Do you have someone that you’re really close to? You want to protect this person with all your being and when you fail to, the hurt lingers and damages you. Su-mi and Su-yeon are sisters and are very close. They live with their father, Mu-hyeon, and their step-mother, Eun-joo. The movie starts with Su-mi in a presumably psychiatry ward. She is unresponsive to all questions asked by the doctor and only picks up her head when a family photo is shown. When she gets better, Su-mi goes back home with Su-yeon hand in hand as they enter the house. Their abode is old, large, and dark: a perfect place of residence for evil and the supernatural. On the first night, Su-yeon senses someone enter her room and runs to her sister’s room for protection. From there, this mysterious presence continues to make itself known and only shows itself to Su-mi.  To make matters worst, their step-mother takes all her anger out on Su-yeon by locking her in the closet and their father doesn’t believe a word Su-mi says. When Su-yeon has bruises all over her arms, Su-mi finally confronts her father only to receive a most terrible answer.  Continue reading →

Treeless Mountain | Review

My come-back post! Way back in April of last year, I saw the trailer for this movie and wanted to see it as soon as possible. I finally did shortly after, but it really wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s been brewing inside of me all this time and I figure it’s about time to write it all out.

Directed and Written by: So Yong Kim
Released in: 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival), 2009 (South Korea)

Overall rating: C

Main Cast:
Actor/Actress as Character

Hee-yeon Kim as Jin
Song-hee Kim as Bin
Soo-ah Lee as Mom
Mi-hyang Kim as Big Aunt

Treeless Mountain doesn’t talk about any mountain or tree. Instead, it’s about two young girls name Jin and Bin and the abrupt change they face when their mother suddenly leave their lives. Jin, the older of the two girls, comes home from school one day to find people removing furniture from her home. Her mom set her and her sister down for a talk and tells them that they will live with their aunt for awhile. Her mom is leaving to look for their father and won’t be able to take care of them. Their mother also leaves them a piggy bank and promise to return when the piggy bank is full. She says good-byes to the girls at a bus-stop and leaves. Their aunt unwillingly takes them in at her home and try her best to take care of the kids. She, unfortunately, is more apt to take care in filling up her cup with alcohol and is often too drunk to make meals for Jin and Bin. The coins they get from their aunt is few in between if any. Jin later gets an idea to sell roasted grass-hoppers for fish baits (or whatever they’re used for) in return from coins. She then exchange them for smaller change to fill up the piggy bank faster. The day finally comes when their piggy bank is full. Jin and Bin go to the bus-stop where they last saw their mother and wait for her. Will their mother come like she promised?

Continue reading →

Won Bin

I want to talk a little bit about Won Bin today because he seems to be making all the right moves as of late. I first saw him in a little drama call Autumn Tales costarring Song Seung Hun and Song Hye Kyo that was broadcasted in 2000. Since then, all three has an amazing career but Won Bin and Song Seung Hun briefly left the limelight to fulfill their mandatory 2 years of military service as required for all Korean males. Won Bin served his military duty in 2005 and was discharged in 2006 due to an injury. After rehabilitation, he officially makes his comeback in 2008 with the movie Mother and most recently Ahjussi (English title: The Man From Nowhere). Both movies are major successes.

Mother tells the story of an un-named mother played by Kim Hye-ja who has a mentally challenged son name Do-joon (Won Bin). Do-joon is accused of murder when a local teen ends up dead and the police needs someone to take the blame. Who’s an easier scapegoat than someone who doesn’t even know he’s being framed? The movie follows his mother and her quest to find justice for her son. The plot sounds remarkably interesting and an amazing performance by the actors can really make this movie even better. Thankfully, they did and the movie is both a success at the theaters and at many film festivals. Mother screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and recently won for best film, best screenwriter and best actress at the 4th Asian Film Awards.

Won Bin next plays a character quite different from that in Mother. Before, he played a character that was wronged by the justice system. in Ahjussi, he plays a character who takes justice into his own hands. His character is said to be a lonely man who cuts himself off from society. When a young girl gets kidnapped, he goes off to find her and anyone in his way is basically…in the way and must be destroyed. The plot details are still a bit sketchy since it only just premiered in Korea but is already a big hit. Won Bin is clearly choosing his projects wisely and doing things that he knows he can do well which is a soft performance that’s still powerful and memorable. When he does try to venture into new territory like an action-movie such as Ahjussi, I feel he’s still playing a character he knows he can portray well.

I’m hoping to see Mother real soon. Since I’m not much of an action movie fan, Ahjussi might have to wait but it still sounds really good.

Treeless Mountain

Hey all. I’m breaking away from my schoolwork to report to you about this new movie. Once I saw the trailer, I just had to post it up here for everyone to know about it.

The movie is called Treeless Mountain directed by So Yong Kim. The name of the movie alone intrigues me. The basic storyline from what I gather is two young Korean girls (Jin and Bin) are left in the care of their aunt by their mother while she looks for the girls’ father. The mother tells her daughters that once they fill up a plastic piggy bank that she gave them, she will return by then. Other minutes details of the movie are yet unknown, but I’m hoping it’ll be one of those calm yet powerful movie like Il Mare.

A quote from the trailer pretty much peaks my interest even more in that it says the movie portrays the “…quiet resilience of children.” I thought about my own childhood and how I could force myself to wake up freakishly early in the morning to catch the cartoon shows and now I can barely get up by noon. When did this resilience get lost? Maybe this movie will tell me. 😛

A Man Who Was Superman | Review

I saw this movie just yesterday at 10 and stayed up late to midnight just to finish it. What an awesome movie. That’s why I’m writing a review now to spread the love.

superman

Release in 2008
Directed by Jeong Yoon-chul
Overall Rating: A+

Main Cast: Actors / Characters

Jun Ji-hyun as Song Soo-jung
Hwang Jeong-min as Lee Hyun-suk

I’d like to start this review off with a quote from “Superman” in the movie.

“Strenghts don’t open big, iron doors but a small key. We all have a key inside of us…to open the door to a new future.”

Song Soo-jung is a long-time TV show producer who has grown bored of the mechanics of her job. Doing the same thing years after years has removed all sparks from her. Furthermore, she hasn’t been paid in awhile. The reason wasn’t explicited stated, so I am assuming it’s because the studio hasn’t got a hit yet. Soo-jung decides to take the company’s camera as payment and go to Africa for a shoot. She lazily steps out of the office without a wave to her co-workers. As she waits for the train to come, she falls asleep and wakes up to find her camera (i.e. company’s camera) is stolen. She tries to run after the crook but can’t match his speed. Suddenly, a color bullet comes rushing by. It’s a man in a colorful Hawaiian printed shirt. He flies by everyone and quickly catches up to the thief. Scared, the thief runs off leaving his chaser exhausted on the ground and the camera too. When Soo-jung finds him, she checks for her camera first, then pour water on her savior to wakes him up. He quickly comes to and identifies himself as Superman. Apparantly, he’s well-known throughout the neighborhood to help out everyone and everything he sees. He explains he has lost his superpower because a piece of kryptonite is lodged in his brain. Soo-jung is puzzled but interested, this could be her next documentary and a big hit at that. Is this man really Superman? If not, what’s his reasons for helping out everyone at the expense of himself? Yet still, should there really be a reason to help out others?

Continue reading →

Over the Rainbow | Review

Released in 2002
Directed by Ahn Jin-woo
Overall Rating: A

Main Cast:
Lee Jung-Jae as Jin Soo
Jang Jin-yeong as Yeon Hee
Jeong Chan as Sang-in (Jin Soo’s bestfriend)

Jin Soo is a meteorologist and works as a weather forcaster.  On a rainy night, he spots someone familiar crossing the street from his car.  As memories of who she was enter his mind, on ongoing truck strucks Jin Soo’s car.  He is rushed to the hospital where he is diagnosed with partial amnesia.  As he is getting used to not being able to remember a part of his memory, a single memory continues to show up in his thoughts.  It is an image of a young girl by a window with the sun glowing behind her.  Who could she be?  He later finds a photo of her but the contrast is too high to see her face.  When Jin Soo visits a pschycologist, he tells him that people forget important things to them all the time.  Some people, like Jin Soo, try to remember them by presenting it in dreams or illusion.  So to get to the bottom of this memory, he seeks the help of his past college friends to see if they could remember her.  One of them, Yeon Hee who now works at a lost-and-found center at the train station, tries her best to remember and the two embark on a journey of memories to discover Jin Soo’s past love.

Continue reading →