Friday, August 29, 2008

Kmovie - My Sassy Girl (2001)

Synopsis - Shenyuepop
Photos - Cine 21 & Soompi

Gyeon-woo is a single Korean college student, still not very sure of what he wants to become in the future. One night, on his way back home, he meets an extremely beautiful girl, but who is also completely drunk. Because the girl talked to Gyeon-woo before falling unconscious, the people surrounding them begin to think that the girl is Gyeon-woo's girlfriend. Having no other choice than helping the girl, he decides to leave her in a motel, since he doesn’t know were she lives. The next morning Gyeon-woo gets a call from this mysterious girl who is very angry about him and wants to know everything that happened the past night. She tells him to meet her right now at the exit of the metro. Gyeon-woo thinking about this, decides to go see the girl. From that night, Gyeon-woo and the girl will become good friends, in a strange sense. As the relation progresses, Gyeon-woo begins to discover how crazy the girls really is, with all her wacky behaviors, angry attitude and always wanting him to please her the way she wants, even if it mean that Gyeon-woo will pass for a complete idiot in public places or gets beaten by the girl. But even if Gyeon-woo suffer, physically and mentally, he really thinks that this beautiful girl will have some sorrow in her and he really wants to help her to get better. But at what price?

My Sassy Girl is on almost everyone's top ten list of favorite Korean movies of all times. I've heard so much about this movie that I had to watch it. At that time, I have never seen a Korean movie. Honestly I wasn't interested either. So I finally watched it. I did like it but didn't love it like everyone else did. I rather watch My Tutor Friend or Too Beautiful to Lie or even The Classic. Maybe my expectations were too high which caused me not to like My Sassy Girl as much.

Having watching it again, I learn to appreciate the movie more. Come on, this movie has been remade in Hollywood and Bollywood. It has to be a good, enough movie, huh?

What I didn't like about the movie was so much abuse - so much of the girl slapping the guy and her actions to him. He was so dumb for staying with her. With My Sassy Girl being the first Korean movie I've ever seen, I didn't know what to expect in a romantic movie as many people claimed that the genre My Sassy Girl was in. I didn't expect a romantic movie to have so much abuse, lol.

Okay, so what did I like about it? I loved the second half of the movie, the novelist part. The movie was told beautifully about Jung Jo and her past relationship, why her life is full of sorrows. Jung Jo was known as "the girl" in most of the movie.

Memorable Lines from the movie. Taken from Juxtopose

The Girl: What do you want to order?
Gyun-Woo: Cherry Jubilee... wait... I'll have Mango Tango... or Shooting Star... Jamonka Almond sounds good too... Okay, I'll just have Love Me.
The Girl: Wanna die? Drink coffee!

The Girl: You know why the sky is blue?
Gyun-Woo: Because the reflection from the sunshine causes...
The Girl: Wrong! It's to make me happy. I wanted it to be blue, so it's blue. You know why fire is hot? It's all for me. I wanted it to be hot, so it's hot. You know why we have four seasons here in Korea?
Gyun-Woo: For you?
The Girl: Correct.
Fate is building a bridge of chance for the one you love.
I think I have met a man from the future... From your future

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kmovie - Legend of the Evil Lake (2003)

Synopsis - IMDB
Photos - HK Flix

As the tribal age of darkness and incantation comes to its end, with the birth of new kingdoms, the Kingdom of Shilla led by PARK Hyokkose destroys Auta Tribe, a tribe that worships the Great Tree. The vast hole where the Great Tree once stood is filled with the blood and hatred of Auta Tribe and it turns into a dark lake. Hyokkose thrusts the Sword into the Great Tree to seal off the sorcery power of Auta Tribe.

1000 years later...

In the last years of Queen Chinsong's reign, the Unified Kingdom of Shilla has deteriorated into a weakening nation with ongoing wars and the failing frontiers. It is at the brink of a complete destruction. General Biharang, a trusted warrior of Queen Chinsong, faithfully fights for his country but after years of countless battles, his only wish is to live a quiet life with his beloved woman Jaunbie. One day, while General Biharang is out in another battle, unknown assassins attempt to murder Jaunbie. As she tries to escape from them, she accidentally throws herself into the lake where the malice spirit of Auta Tribe lies deep within.

The evil spirit of Auta decides to revenge against the Shilla Dynasty through Jaunbie, who had fallen into the lake. 'When darkness of the night hides the moon of thousands years of hatred, the great revenge will begin. And the greatest love will become the greatest tragedy.

I've never seen a Korean movie that took placed in the golden era. All the Korean movies I've seen have been mostly romantic comedies and horror films. What I do love about Korean movies versus Bollywood films is in Korean movies and/or dramas, the girls don't have to make a dramatic transformation for the guys to like them. The guys will like the girl no matter how she looks. They like the girls for their personality. Not in Bollywood films, girls gotta change their looks for the guys to notice them - ahem Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Ishq Visk, Main Hoon Naa, etc. Okay, this post isn't about Korean versus Bollywood films. Okay, I should also post this on my Indian cinema blog, which I should soon. All the Korean movies I've seen so far, everyone dresses in modern clothing so I was surprise at The Legend of the Evil Lake.

I love watching historical epic films of China. I'm a huge martial arts fan too - maybe I should start blogging on Hong Kong films? Should I make another blog for that?

Anyways, to get back to the post (again), I was very impress with the movie. I like watching wild wuxia. For some reason, I love when a female gets to kick ass. It doesn't matter if she's is the villian or heroine.

Although this movie wasn't an introductory to Korean cinema, I was more impress with the style of the movie than the acting. I didn't pay attention much to who was acting. Being so glued on to the tv screen, I enjoyed the movie for it's visual stunts.

Being unfamiliar with the Korean history and culture, I was amused by their traditional outfits.

Although the love story has a major part of the movie, the fight scenes is what sets it apart.

It received a special screening at the 2003 Asian Film Market in Singapore. The eye-catchy cinematography, fight scenes, and great acting makes up for the lack of story. For those who loved Hong Kong films such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or House of Flying Daggers should watch Legend of the Evil Lake.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kmovie - Taegukgi (2004)

Synopsis - Rotten Tomato
Photos - Soompi

After independence, Korea is full of hope for a better future. Family of Jin-tae is none different. Jin-tae lives with his mother, younger brother Jin-seok, and fiancé Young-shin. His mother and Young-shin runs a noodle shop in a market and he shines shoes to send Jin-seok to university. Although the living isn't easy, they are working hard for their better future. Yet, the Korean War breaks out and Jin-tae and Jin-seok get drafted and are located at the battlefront immediately. With bullets flying and bombs going off a few inches away, Jin-tae realizes that he has to keep his brother alive and send him back home safe even if he hurts himself. Believing so, he learns that earning a Medal of Honor may send Jin-seok home, and now Jin-tae begins volunteering for dangerous missions. Yet, Jin-seok is always uncertain about Jin-tae's motivation. Midst of war, U.N. troops join the war and the war seems to end soon. Somehow, Jin-tae succeeds in many missions and ends up getting a Medal of Honor. By then, Jin-tae has driven war crazy with such hatred for North Koreans and Jin-seok refused to go home. Their tension grows between two and there is sudden attack of Chinese Army. With Chinese Army coming down ruthlessly two brothers get separated and Jin-tae believes that Jin-seok is killed during the battle. Jin-tae is now running mad. Yet nobody can bring the dead brother back. It is here in this ruined country that these two beloved brothers are plunged into an unexpected turning moment of their fate.

Yes, it's a war movie. Some people just put it aside. If you give it a try, you may surprise yourself and end up liking Taegukgi. I have a soft spot for war movies. Wait, that didn't come out right. What I mean is Hmong people help the USA with the "secret war" in the Vietnam War. Therefore whenever I watch a war movie, I am very patriotic. Plus it doesn't hurt that my hubby is very passionate about war movies too since he lived through the Vietnam War. He used to tell me stories about his adventures as a young boy in Cambodia. His life was just like the "Killing Fields" movie.

If you like war movies like Saving Private Ryan or The Band of Brothers, then you have to watch Taegukgi. Taegukgi is my favorite war movie of all times!! Any language!! The film title Taeguki refers to the Korean name for the South Korean flag. It was originally designed in 1876 but was outlawed during Japanese rule of the nation, and then restored to be used in 1948.

The movie focuses bitter enmity between North and South Korea. Here's a brief history for those who were not familiar with North and South Korea. Why would a country be split like that? Korea has been split to North and South Korea after World War II. North Korea has a communist government from the USSR, while South Korea became a democracy.

When people refer to Korean movies, they are really talking about South Korean movies. Although I don't specify whether I'm watching North or South Korean movies, these movies are from South Korea. Another snippet since I'm blabbing about it - a lot of hot Korean actors have been or is in the South Korean military now. Ironically, Won Bin who is one of the leading actor in Taegukgi recently came back from military duties. Now in the military is the other hottie I love - Gong Yoo.

The story of Taegukgi starts off by archeologists finding a skeleton and identifying it as Lee Jin Seok. But Jin Seok is still alive! Now he tells the story of the Korean War when his brother Jin Tae and him fought in the 1950s. The beginning of the movie just gets you hooked. You're wondering, what's the deal with finding a skeleton of Lee Jin Seok? Plus watching a movie where two brothers end up fighting against each other is really interesting.

Dong Kun Jang is wonderful as the big brother, Jin Tae. Even though he has a fiance, he thinks what is best for his mother and younger brother. He rather sacrifice his life for them living in a better environment. I have never seen Kun Jang in any other movie besides Taegukgi. Even till this day. I wasn't a fan of his looks but his recent pictures, he is looking so breath taking! I know, I'm shallow but wanted to throw that in.

Won Bin is such a cutie. Seen him in Autumn of my Heart. He's actually the first and only Korean actor who I thought was a hottie just by pictures. All the other ones who I think is hot now, I had to watch their movies and/or dramas before I made that conclusion. Not with Won Bin. What I love about Won Bin is his choice of movies. He doesn't have many to his filmography but he chooses non-romantic characters unlike most Korean actors today.

I can not stress how much I love this movie. It's quite gory and a long movie but watching it, I didn't mind.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kmovie - 100 Days with Mr Arrogant (2004)

Synopsis - Wikipedia
Photos - Soompi

After being dumped by her boyfriend just before their 100 day anniversary, Ha-Young (Ha Ji-Won) meets a college guy named Hyung-Joon when she accidentally kicks a can that hits him in the face and causes him to scratch his Lexus. He demands she pay him $3000 on the spot. She escapes from him, leaving her wallet behind.

Hyung-Joon stalks her, demanding money to pay for his car. Since she is a poor high school student Hyung-Joon writes up a “Enslavement Agreement” for Ha-Young in order to pay for the damage to his car. Ha-Young is thrown into a nightmarish slave life for 100 days, cleaning his house, running his errands, doing his homework and cleaning his car.

By accident she finds out that the damage to Hyung-Joon’s car only costs $10! She then takes her revenge. However, before she knows it Hyung-Joon shows up at her house as her new tutor! He once again takes advantage of her, but soon Ha-Young finds herself falling head over heels for Hyung-Joon. But what happens when he drops out of her life just when she needs him most?

100 Days with Mr Arrogant is a great example of a sassy girl who you'll love. Unlike the other My Sassy Girl, I really love Ha Young. Nothing wrong with "the girl" in My Sassy Girl. I just didn't love her like I did with Ha Young. Since the beginning of the movie from her imitating Sailor Moon to falling for Hyung Joon, her character is very likeable. 100 Days with Mr Arrogant has been compared to My Sassy Girl but I don't see much similarities except for the sassiness in the girls. Otherwise, that's it. I prefer 100 Days with Mr Arrogant over My Sassy Girl. It has also been compared with My Tutor Friend because of the second half. I can see that but I prefer My Tutor Friend over 100 Days with Mr Arrogant.

I became a fan of Ha Ji Won and wanted to watch more of her movies. She has a unique look to her and is very beautiful. Her acting is great. Every time I see her, she gets better and more beautiful.

Kim Jae Won is adorable. At first, I didn't think he was cute but watching him more, his boyish looks and goofy smile are what turned me on. The beginning of the movie had his macho walk and I thought it was a bit dorky. I have a soft spot for guys who think they are tough and a bad ass but have a heart. That's where Hyung Joon came in! He fits that perfectly.

The movie is definitely worth a watch. I was laughing so hard but then there's a sweet side romance in the end.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kmovie - My Girl and I (2005)

Synopsis - Ebay
Pictures - Hancinema

Bright and beautiful high school student Su Eun (Song Hye Kyo) saves fellow student Su Ho (Cha Tae Hyun) from drowning in the ocean. Su Ho does not know who saved him until Su Eun confides in him that it was her, because she has a crush on the boy. After she lost her paper during her rescue attempt, Su Ho buys a new one for her so that they can communicate with each other in secret, afraid that Su Eun’s protective parents will discover their relationship. But just as love begins to blossom for the two youngsters, tragedy strikes in the cruelest of ways.

I was excited to see this movie because it's Song Hye Kyo's movie debut. I think she's just gorgeous. Her acting is decent but I still like her overall. Then I read about this movie being a rmake of a Japanese movie. I'm not a fan of Japanese movies. Most of them I find weird and strange. There are only two Japanese movies I liked - Love Letter and Be With You. Regardless I watched My Girl and I for Song Hye Kyo.

The movie is nothing new. It's very very slow paced. Next to the gorgeous Song Hye Kyo, you have the below-average-looking guy Cha Tae Hyun. I can't say I was disappointed in the movie because I had no expectations and yet, I still didn't like it.

I could only suggest to watch it if you're a die hard fan of Song Hye Kyo. Otherwise, it's really a waste of your time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kmovie - My Little Bride (2003)

Synopsis - DramaWiki
Photos - Soompi

Boeun is an ordinary high school girl who worries about grades and has a crush on her school's baseball team ace, named Jungwoo. One day, Boeun's grandfather orders her to marry Sangmin. When they were young, during the Korean War, Boeun's and Sangmin's grandfathers had promised that they would become in-laws. Despite the grandchildren's opposition, they are forced to marry because of the strong influence of Boeun's grandfather. Boeun's undercover married life begins: She pretends that she doesn't have a husband and starts dating Jungwoo. Boeun believes that she can manage both men and live a double life. Everything goes smoothly until Sangmin visits Boeun's school as a student teacher.

Thanks to Kathi who reminded me how great My Little Bride is. Yes, I miss Kmovies like My Little Bride and My Tutor Friend. Thanks for inspiring me to post this today and for sending me the movie!

Honestly when I first read about My Little Bride, I didn't think I would like it that much. It's up there with My Tutor Friend for my list of best romantic comedy Kmovie! I know some people may think it's gross for a high school girl to marry an older guy. Plus her parents making her. And on top of that, she already have a high school boyfriend. I know. I know. It's a really good movie. Just give it a try!

Moon Geun Young is so adorable. She's not gorgeous or anything but has such a baby face. Her look is so pure and innocent. Playing the high school girl, she looks a bit too young! However, I love her character. As a good girl, she obeys her parents and goes through with the marriage. She keeps her marriage as a secret because she has a boyfriend at school. Juggling two good looking guys is hard. :)

Kim Rae Won was really good. When I first saw him, I said dork but he grew on me. His personality attracted me more and I saw his cute dorkiness. He's caring and understanding. Everything a husband should be, right?

Park Jin Woo is too adorable. Too bad he has such a short role in the film. He's the hot stud in school and plays baseball.