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    Cello

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 16th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Mu-ju is trying to adjust to life again after surviving a terrible accident. Life is still hard, as her eldest daughter suffers from something like autism, and she is having trouble landing a permanent position as a teacher at a music school (plus, a former student has it in for her). The aforementioned eldest daughter becomes obsessed with a cello, and a mute housekeeper moves in, and terrible things begin to happen.

    But those terrible things wait far too long to happen. A third o…
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    Coast Guard, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 27th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Private Kang (Jan Dong-kun) is a coast guard – i.e. a soldier tasked with watching the South Korean coast for spies from North Korea. He is obsessed with shooting one, even though it is extremely unlikely that he will encounter any. One night, he sees movement and opens fire, killing not a spy, but a teenager having a tryst with his girlfriend. The boy isn’t just shot – he’s riddled with bullets and then blown to pieces with a grenade. No surprise, then, that the girl is traumatized to the p…
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    9 Songs (Full Uncut Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 27th, 2005

    Synopsis

    This is a short (69 minutes), quite elliptical film that traces the arc of a relationship between a young man (Kieran O’Brien) and woman (the pseudonymous Margo Stilley). We see individual moments, usually framed around episodes of lovemaking, and in between we see our couple at rock concerts (and so we get, in their entirety, performances by the likes of Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals and Franz Ferdinand). The whole story is a flashback, with O’Brien in the present, post-relationship, r…
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    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on December 14th, 2005

    Let’s face it. Hollywood isn’t taking enough chances these days. In the era of film franchises, sequels and remakes, Hollywood has become too predictable, leading to mediocre reviews for most big releases and even worse box office returns. Many film goers have looked to independent and foreign films to challenge them, and for good reason. Foreign films march to the beat of their own drum, use complex themes and imagery to tell their story, and they usually keep you guessing until the very end. The same can be said f…
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    Phone

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 19th, 2005

    Phone director Byeong-ki Ahn admits he wanted to take the premise of Ringu and incorporate cell phones as the primary transmitter of terror instead of VHS tapes. (Just when these vengeful spirits will make the jump to DVD is uncertain — and when they do, will it be Blu-Ray or… oh, I’ll save it for another time.) Anyway, he puts together an impressive-looking package with this horror tale, but unfortunately, the film itself falls flat on the wings of derivative, copycat storytelling.

    Ji-Won H…
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    Face

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 4th, 2005

    Synopsis

    A serial murderer is at large, burning his victims’ bodies down to the bone with acid. In order to identify the victims, the police must turn to reluctant forensic sculptor Hyun-min. He has no heart for the job, concerned as he is with this daughter, whose body seems to be rejecting its heart transplant. But he does go to work, even as he and his daughter have visions of a female ghost.

    The long-haired ghost is a figure that is rapidly losing its power to scare through massive over…
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    H

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 25th, 2005

    East Meets West

    I don’t know a great deal about Korean cinema, but I imagine that H must have been a milestone in the Korean film industry – a distinctly Korean interpretation of a Western tradition. H is a dark psychological murder mystery, thriller, and suspense film, best compared to The Silence of the Lambs, or Kiss the Girls – not what one expects from the other side of the Pacific. There’s no martial arts to be found, and no running through trees, and pseudo-mystical mum…
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    Samaritan Girl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on May 24th, 2005

    Samaritan Girl is a provactive little film from South Korea. The director, Kim Ki-Duk, has been said to be a filmmaker to watch. The plot surrounds the plight of two teenage girls, Jae-young (played by Min-jeong Seo) and Yoe-Jin (played by Ji-min Kwak). These two friends have dreams of going to Europe. The only problem: they need money. What’s the solution: the oldest profession. Jae-Young becomes the prostitute and Yoe-jin is the pimp. Sounds a little twisted. Well…tragedy strikes. And Yoe-Jin devo…
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    Memento Mori

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 22nd, 2005

    Synopsis

    Set in a girls’ high school, this tells the tale of Min-Ah, who finds a diary written by two of her schoolmates. This is a revealing book, exposing as it does their love affair. Concurrently with Min-Ah reading the diary, that relationship comes to an end, and one of the girls leaps to her death from the school roof. Supernatural events begin almost immediately thereafter.

    As an exploration of the painful tribal realities of high school (à la Carrie), this works very well, a…
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