Archive for the ‘South Korea’ Category

Happy Birthday, Cha Tae-Hyun!

March 25, 2010

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: SX Global

March 11, 2010

There is more to life than Texas. Although, as any Texan will tell you, not much more. So hurrah to SXSW for looking beyond its borders to the world outside. While the inclusion of a Native American-themed documentary in the “global” slot is troubling, the rest of the lineup fulfills its brief. In the U.K., CCTVs and databases makes Daily Mail readers of us all. There’s glimpses of Finnish living rooms and the very edges of time. There’s love, loss, incarceration, impotency, death. When all else fails, there’s always Viagra to act as our troubled planet’s the great uniter. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.

The DeVilles

Teri Lee Geary is a burlesque performer who looks like Marilyn Monroe and swings her tassels by the name of Kitten DeVille. She’s married to punk rocker Shawn Geary. DeVille is obsessed by the 1950s of Eisenhower. He’s mired in the 1980s. Now, after a quarter century of mismatched bliss, it’s coming undone. Documentary filmmaker Nicole Nielsen Horanyi is there to film the kitschy Strindberg action.

Erasing David

Keen to find out how much the U.K. government and its corporate databases know about him, filmmaker David Bond (Lions of Green) drops off the grid. Then he hires a pair of detectives to find him using available information. As another film once put it, we live in public. Bond’s discoveries, however, serve to fuel his paranoia about living in the surveillance state of Knifecrime Island.

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Must See Movies: March

March 1, 2010

Spring is busting out all over, even if Squally is currently looking out at several inches of snow at this writing. While the past few months have offered slim pickings for cineastes on a budget, March comes in with returning masters and new discoveries. So many, in fact, that we’ve extended our usual handful to a mighty six. Among the delights in store: Zoe Kazan, fascist mistresses, Lolitas in platforms, and Ben Stiller turning his neuroses up to 11. Sorry funseekers, no Hot Tub Time Machine. Click on the titles for trailers and more.

The Exploding Girl
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Ivy (Zoe Kazan) juggles a distant boyfriend and a close pal while taking a break from college.
Fun fact: Writer-director Bradley Rust Gray is married to Treeless Mountain helmer So Yong Kim!
Why it could be great: Zoe Kazan’s had us since her delicate turn in Me and Orson Welles. And who doesn’t like a summer-set mood piece released in the middle of March?
Why it could suck: Oh.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Matt Damon reunites with director Paul Greengrass to fight the war in Iraq. Based on the acclaimed book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Fun fact: Greengrass collaborated with onetime M15 agent Peter Wright on Spycatcher, a 1987 bestseller which lifted the lid on Britain’s Secret Service.
Why it could be great: Damon and Greengrass’s Bourne films made palm’s sweat glands work overtime.
Why it could suck: Iraq? Again?

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Trailerama: Iron Crows

February 12, 2010

Watching a giant tanker being dismantled is an awesome spectacle. It’s also pretty dangerous work. South Korean filmmaker Bong-Nam Park brings his cameras to Bangladesh to interview the men making two bucks a day to turn the ships into scrap. With its scenes of devastation, danger, grinding poverty and rousing musical finale, the trailer for this SXSW-approved documentary doesn’t really seem to leave any other avenues for Park’s film to explore.

Berlin 2010 Preview: Forum, Part 2

February 11, 2010

Forum is the section where Berlineastes seek out the freshest filmmakers doing their bit to push back the form’s parameters. The second part of our Forum preview kicks off with a conventional gangster story, but there’s wilder stuff in store. How about a musical version of a 1928 Communist classic from Japan, for instance? Or maybe a mad romance from Goa? Other highlights include the new film from Laura Poiras and more from the Japan, South Korea and Taiwan vanguard. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Click here to read the first part of our Forum preview.

Indigène d’Eurasie (Eastern Drift)

Career criminal Gena has gone from extorting protection fees to dealing drugs. Now he wants out. His decision means going on the run. In a race across Europe reminiscent of Wim Wenders’s glory years, Gena reflects on his life. Through his frantic character, Lithuanian director and star Sharunas Bartas’s film sketches a criminal history of the continent.

Kanikōsen (The Crab Cannery Ship)

Takiji Kobayashi’s 1929 agitprop novel has come back into fashion thanks to discontent with the Japanese economic system. Director Sabu (Drive) adapts the time-honored story of a ship divided between downtrodden workers and vicious bosses, throwing in some singing and dancing along the way. With Nightmare Detective’s Ryuhei Matsuda.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Generations, Part 3

February 10, 2010

It may be true that all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun, but children have been an integral element since the Lumieres photographed a baby’s luncheon in 1895. Berlin’s Generations sidebar continues the tradition with over 50 features and shorts for and about those unknowable little buggers we like to call “the kids.” In the final installment of our preview, their stories range from life on the Georgia streets to South Korean orphanages to Michael Cera’s overactive imagination. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Read the first part of our Berlin: Generations preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin: Generations preview.

Susa

Susa is a 12-year-old whose job delivering bootleg vodka takes him to some of the grimier corners of Georgia. He’s threatened by the police on one side and street gangs on the other. This grim existence is alleviated only by the promise that Susa’s father will one day return. Rusudan Pirveli’s feature debut also screened in the Bright Future sidebar at the 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival.

Te extraño (I Miss You)

Director Fabian Hofman’s film is set among Argentine exiles living in Mexico. The teenager Javier is haunted by the memory of his older brother, who was killed by the military junta. Everybody wants to Javier to be the leader Adrian was. But all Javier wants is to be himself—whoever that is.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Generations, Part 1

February 10, 2010

Like the Jesuits, the Berlin Film Festival understands that you need to get ‘em while they’re young. To that end, the Generations sidebar features films about and aimed at youth. This year’s selection of 56 features and shorts looks at every aspect of growing up, from unappreciative single parents to freaky flights of fancy. In the first part of our preview, we start out on a Mexican fishing trip and end up running away with an Italian circus.

Alamar

Three Mexican generations convene on the Chinchorro reef in Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s acclaimed “documentary fiction” of fathers and sons. Daniel Kasman wrote, “a sojourn of a film, getting the simplicity and details of a wonderful but limited experience down to their most honest, most untroubled, most tender, and often most beautiful essences.”

Bestevenner (Best Friends)

This Norwegian children’s film from director Christian Lo combines young friendship, the Christmas season and the threat of deportation. When their friend Naisha flees to Oslo, Julie and Mette pack up their knapsacks and give chase. Expect heartstrings to be hammered like Jerry Lee Lewis attacking a piano.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Main/Special, Part 3

February 6, 2010

Starting with a Sapphic rock ‘n’ roll band and ending with an elegy for the Bolivian aristocracy, the final part of our Panorama preview contains a broad range of viewpoints. Of note is an Aki Kaurismaki-endorsed story of incest, stories of seclusion from Russia and Israel, a no holds barred biopic about Ian Dury and a charming collection of South Korean actresses. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Read the first part of our Berlin Panorama preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Panorama preview.
Read the first part of our Berlin Competition preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Competition preview.

The Owls

An aging ex-members of a lesbian rock band get a kick up the behind by the appearance of a 20-year-old newcomer. Twisted passions lead to both rebirth and revenge. The ninth film from Liberian-born lesbian director Cheryl Dunye (My Baby’s Daddy) stars Guinevere Turner, best known for writing the screenplays to American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol.

Paha perhe (Bad Family)

Produced by Aki Kaurismaki, this deadpan comedy features an obsessive single dad (Ville Virtanen) who will do anything to keep his son from hooking up with the love of his life—who happens to be the boy’s sister. The icky topic is perfect fodder for that very special brand of Finnish humor. Directed by Aleksi Salmenperä (A Man’s Work).

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Rotterdam 2010: Bright Future Premieres, Part 1

January 20, 2010

The Rotterdam Film Festival has a reputation for supporting the work of new filmmakers through the Hubert Bals Fund. The Bright Future sidebar focuses on directors making their first or second film. Too bad nobody took the title very seriously. Features and documentaries alike this year tackle dead serious issues while also bending the limits of their respective genres. In the first part of our sidebar preview, the curriculum includes Brazilian gentrification, African genocide and baby fever gone bad. The IRFF runs between January 27 and February 7. No razor blades or exhaust pipes will be allowed in the theatre.

Avenida Brasilia Formosa (Defiant Brasilia)

The pitch: A Recife neighborhood is relocated to make way for a coastal motorway.
The evils of gentrification, eh? Gabriel Mascaro’s film is closer to a portrait of the transplanted barrio. Mixing fact and fiction, the changing ‘hood is seen through the eyes of a videographer waiter and his clients.
Any shooting? Only the filmic variety. The subjects include a little boy who wants to be Spider-Man and a girl who is applying to be on Idolos Brazil.

El camino entre dos puntos (The Way Between Two Points)

The pitch: An oil worker in Patagonia lights out for the territory, where he witnesses the struggle between man and nature.
Does he turn into a blue alien smurf? Nope. This is the first feature from video artist Sebastian Diaz Morales, whose work has been described as “filmic narratives embracing stories that sometimes resemble science fiction, sometimes with certain catastrophic overtones, and in which there is an ever-present common denominator of a minimalist narrative style wherein the camera is always moving and in which the characters virtually function as metaphors for a story that goes beyond the anecdote to reveal problems of great scope in current society.”
Phew! Like I said, does he turn into a blue alien smurf? The results look closer to a combination of There Will Be Blood’s celebration of imperialism with the badlands of No Country for Old Men. But let’s move on, shall we?

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Trailerama: Yeobaewoodle (The Actresses)

November 11, 2009

Six South Korean actresses play lightly fictionalized versions of themselves in this comedy from director E J-Yong. A Christmas Eve magazine cover shoot brings the septet together and soon everyone’s ego is coming into play. The open bar doesn’t help matters. The beauty and talent on display in this fun-looking trailer makes Squally think they should do this more often. The ladies are Kim Ok-vin (Thirst), Kim Min-hee (Hellcats), TV actress Choi Ji-woo, Ko Hyun-joung (Woman on the Beach), Lee Mi-sook (Untold Scandal) and the grande dame Yoon Yeo-jeong (A Good Lawyer’s Wife).