I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Director Lee Myung Se: a Master of Visual Cinematic Arts August 27, 2008

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 4:54 pm
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On Friday, Sept. 5, USC will be showing two films directed by Lee Myung Se, namely Duelist and M. Duelist plays at 4pm and will be followed by a Q&A with Lee Myung Se. The Q&A will be followed by a reception, and the reception will be followed by a screening of M. For more details click here.

Due to the fact that it’s at USC and I’m not familiar with the campus or comfortable there, I probably will not go. But it sounds like a fun event. Both films should be watchable. Duelist sounds more plot-driven, M more character-driven. Plot synopses are available at the link in the previous paragraph.

Besides, there’s a reception. Who can object to free food?

The event is cosponsored by these organizations:the School of Cinematic Arts, East Asian Studies Center, Center for International Studies, East Asian Languages & Culture, East Asian Library, Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles, Korean Film Council, University of Notre Dame.

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Ripe for a Remake: The Chaser August 2, 2008

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 10:08 am
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The only reason The Chaser (추격자) is a Korean movie is that it happened to be made in Korea. There are no inherent details about the story that tie it to Korean culture. And this means it has a better shot than some at translating into a decent remake. With luck, even a pretty good remake.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, there are plans to remake it with Leo DiCaprio starring, so I watched it with that in mind. The protagonist is played by an actor in his forties, so I’m thinking they’ll write the role younger in the Hollywood version and give it to DiCaprio. I can’t see him getting any other role in the movie. The role of the protagonist is exactly the kind where DiCaprio would excel. It’s dark and the guy’s morality is gray, but he has good impulses (some, anyway).

It’s the story of a cop-turned-pimp who goes looking for the guy who’s making his girls disappear. The pimp is played by Kim Yoon Seok, whom I was delighted to recognize from the kdrama Revenge (부활, also translated Resurrection or Rebirth or Life Again or maybe we should just say The Drama of Many Titles). He played a supporting role in that drama, but a fairly important one, acting in part as the hero’s conscience. I’m fully intending to blog about it sometime. It was a good one.

But back to The Chaser. Kim Yoon Seok turned in a good performance (I have a feeling he always does). It was a solid film, engrossing, dark, with a character I cared about even though I’m not generally inclined to like pimps. The structure was slightly atypical, but not radically so, and it worked. The presence of one character initially made me worry that the story would go off on a tangent, but she turned out to be well-integrated into the protagonist’s journey. The antagonist… well, I could say something about his motives, but I’m afraid it might be a spoiler, so I won’t. All I’ll say is he was definitely the kind of guy you want to see brought down.

One warning, though (actually three). If you don’t like gore, this movie isn’t for you. And if you don’t like dark, it’s not for you. And if you aren’t into antihero protagonists, it’s not for you either.