HanCinema Film Review: Phantom Detective

21 05 2016


So the New York Times didn’t like the film, but I sure did. People are so invested into adrenaline-pumping films nowadays that slower-paced films are often blindly dismissed. Don’t do that to “Phantom Detective!”

Here’s a snippet of my HanCinema review:

Director Jo Sung-hee’s Phantom Detective is a play on the crime noir complete with anti-hero Hong Gil-dong (Lee Je-hoon), a decrepit town, deranged villains, and stylized filming that brings the world of the comic book to life. There are also two unlikely sidekicks, two little girls who rework Gil-dong’s damaged psyche over the course of the film.

Phantom Detective was released in Korea May 4, 2016 and 508,000 filmgoers (19.9%) sat down to watch a modern take of the classic Korean tale of “Hong Gil Dong”. Last weekend, May 13, 2016, the film premiered in Los Angeles and May 20 saw a wider North American release.

Click here to read the full review!

HanCinema Film Review: Time Renegades

24 04 2016


Time Renegades the time-travel film from Director Kwak Jae-Yong (Daisy, My Sassy Girl) came in number one its opening weekend and for good reason. It was a slick piece that balanced the two worlds it depicted and the relationship between dream-tied strangers realistically and with plenty of suspense. It premiered in South Korea on April 13, 2016, and had its North American release by CJ E&M on April 22, 2016.

The plot centers around two seemingly disparate storylines set in 1983 and 2015 that become intertwined by fate, murder, and love. Nothing about this premise is unusual – save for its execution. The uncanny parallels between the lives and love stories of 1983’s Ji-Hwan (Jo Jeong-seok) and Yoon-jeong (Im Soo-jeong), and Geon-woo (Lee Jin-wook) and So-eun (Im Soo-jeong) are highlighted by Director Kwan’s trademark ability to juxtapose scenes with elegant cuts, filtered shots, and keen sense of camera story telling.

Click here to read the whole review!

HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 4

6 04 2016


Episode 4 of Jackpot saw some marked improvement in structure and intrigue, but the ratings don’t reflect that. It dropped below Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho‘s 11.3% to a single-digit 9.5%. Perhaps it’s the unexpected slapstick humor that threw viewers off. However what grabbed me was the sense of family scattered throughout the hour.

Dae-gil and his father and adopted grandfather are a rather silly trio. This silliness seems to be the directorial style. It’s found in both Man-geum’s and Dae-gil’s characters and doesn’t very well show off what Lee Moon-sik and Jang Geun-seok can do. These slapstick moments step aside for ones with more gravity in them, and we finally take a peek at the Jang Geun-seok we’ve been waiting years for. I’m glad to see him throw himself so thoroughly into a role even if I don’t care for the over-exaggerated nature of the comedy.

Click here to read more!

HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 3

5 04 2016


Jackpot is still on top of the Monday/Tuesday pack coming in at 11.6%. The appearance of the long awaited Jang Geun-seok can’t have hurt the rating, but it was Lee Moon-sik who really stole the show. After the hustle and bustle of the first few episodes, his character settles down and really allows the actor to shine.

Character actors like Lee Moon-sik are often relegated to a similar role from drama to drama and “Jackpot” is no different for Lee. However, there are moments where his character’s fatherly pride shines through, or his love for his former wife softens him. It is in those small moments that Lee proves his acting chops. He is more than goofy faces and trouble making. He’s an actor possessed of many onscreen skills. He even managed to redeem the rather repugnant Baek Man-geum who came around and learned to be a father no matter the circumstance. It wasn’t the writing, but the look of utter devotion on Lee’s face that convinced me.

Click here to read more!

Join me in Interviewing Jasper Cho!

3 04 2016


Man, I love my job sometimes. See that man in that picture? HanCinema and I get to interview him.

And guess what?

YOU have a chance to as well. If you want to ask an interview question of Jasper Cho/Cho Tae-gwan/조태관, the very handsome man who plays Dr. Daniel in Descendants of the Sun, click the link below and leave your name, location, and a question for Jasper Cho. Two very lucky fans will have their question answered by Jasper himself.

Click here to ask him your question!

HanCinema Review: Descendents of the Sun Episode 12

2 04 2016


Descendants of the Sun is a master at sparking emotion. No matter how illogical the plot may become, the emotional barometer is insanely high. This must be why Nielsen Korean is clocking this drama at 33% for episode 12, a whole 1.1% higher than last night’s episode. Wow. It is the human element that “Descendants of the Sun” is really learning to master that makes is so addictive – for me and the rest of the world.

Before I go any further I have to say, “Oh my gosh, the feels!” This show delivers in every way. Sure, the situations are ridiculously absurd. Who can disarm a bomb by shooting it? Yoo Si-jin can! He can also take on several armed men without a single military or civilian casualty. But with that said, the entire montage was pregnant with poignant tension that was due very much to the gifted Song Joong-ki. Billions of people all over the world are fans of his for a reason. Many actors are handsome. Few can manipulate a camera frame with a twitch of a facial muscle and a well-placed tear. Song Joong-ki can. He did. Multiple times.

Click here to read more!


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