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Nr. 01 - August 2013 our very first publication, to kickstart something new and exciting, and to learn more about the film industry. Enjoy the Asian inspired edition!
See how Frank Merle holds onto you until you can’t even take it anymore in The Employer, a killer thoughtprovoking film about the job you could only dream about!
Feeling Cloned? Read about Gregory Orr’s Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles and the search for identity and perfection. Let’s get CLONED!
12 Who’s leading in the box office this summer? What’s the competition like? Check out the cut-throat competition for the highest revenue-generating films of the summer!
14 Man of Steel, the latest Superman experimentation! Read the review of one of this summer’s killer blockbusters. Will Superman have fought his final battle?
10 16 KILLER Asian movies are something to be reckoned with. Read about the most highly acclaimed thrillers in Korean history! 2
Independent movies play a role, to provide you with an alternative experience and to evoke powerful, emotional, and psychological feelings. They are what we need: movies sewn together to provoke us, to make us think, and to help us experience new perspectives.
EDITORIAL STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Sufi Mohamed SENIOR EDITOR Kristine Sahagun Reviewers Kristine Sahagun Katherine Kehoe Esther Simera DESIGNER Katherine Kehoe ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Sufi Mohamed SPECIAL THANKS VisionFilms Emerald Brooke Frank Merle Gregory Orr Eric Hayden HanCinema Michel Zollinger ADVERTISING INQUIRIES email@example.com OFFICE Sandacker 15 8052, Zurich Switzerland Phone +41 (77) 482-6609
s long as you seek an alternative, independent films will always be there. With an ever growing audience, the lively attention and perspective independent films exude will continue to even more enthusiasm. There’s more to movies than meets the eye, and that’s the kind of challenge that you can expect from an independent film. Naturally, there are some big blockbuster sensations that are also quite deep, but they don’t really express a sincerity that you’ll find in indie movies. Indie films can be entertaining, devastating, insane, and even funny, you can expect the entire array of fun and satisfaction you would experience in Hollywood films. The difference is that it’s just not promoted in the same way. We are majorly intrigued by all genres of films. From science-fiction to brisk realism, drama, horror, thrillers (especially psychological), and destructive revenge-style plots. Hollywood films and Indie films don’t necessarily have to be compared and contrasted, they both have a different purpose and are driven by various motives, it’s not always about the box office success! Movies are made with a purpose, a significance and a trailing argument always prevails throughout. It’s not enough to simply watch a movie from beginning to end, movies are much more intricate than you may think. Keeping an eye out for your favorite actor is one thing, but learning about their roles can mean everything about their own motives. In a way, every film is some kind of psychological or societal foreshadowing, or experimentation, about the nature and behavior of humans. Watch the movie, and I mean really watch them. You’ll know exactly what I mean. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, it’s a great honor and pleasure! We hope you join us for our next edition! Sincerely, Sufi Mohamed Editor-in-Chief of IndieJudge.com 3
Five candidates for a high-ranking position at a powerful and mysterious corporation are given a final interview unlike any they could have imagined. Presiding over this life-or-death contest is the CEO of the corporation, known only as The Employer (Malcolm McDowell). Text FRANK MERLE Photo THEEMPLOYERMOVIE.COM
Frank Merle does an excellent job of synthesizing both drama and suspense to create one of the most interesting movies I’ve seen in a very long time. We’re lead to believe that its characters don’t meet by chance, there’s a real reason behind the sinister plot that encourages a vicious, dramatic performance. Text SUFI MOHAMED Photo VISION FILMS
Did you know that even if you hypnotize someone to kill someone else, they won’t kill that person? That’s because their innermost psychological basis contradicts your imperative, but what happens when you’re convinced to do the unthinkable? What happens when you’re convinced to do, to think, in a manner that is forced upon you. Merle’s The Employer may be suggesting that this personal conscience may indeed be a two-way street: the person committing the unspeakable must be in a psychological frame of mind to accept the unthinkable without question and the Employer as someone who facilitates the approval of the unthinkable. The Employer is a fascinating story of human psychology, ethics and the latent animalism that lurks within us all. Seemingly ordinary people whose one goal right now is to become millionaires are put side-by-side to uncover one of the most startling revelations–if that were me, I’d have done what they did. We watch as a spectators, but we’re really watching ourselves–this is exactly what we would do if we were forced in these circumstances. What would our answers be if we were asked the questions that the Carcharias corporation did? Frank Merle combines the thrilling mystery of the unknown, mixed together with a flashback narrative that intertwines each character in a moral struggle of life, death, and purpose. Within each of us lies the flight or fight instinct, for some, it’s the fight instinct that they can only relate to–what happens when those that flee become those that fight? What will be the ramifications of the innocent being forced in a situation of life and death? The real horror isn’t in the blood, or the suspense, it’s the psychological schism that can occur within us all and for that, we must be wary not to tap into it. Some interviews aren’t worth it, but how do you know? This is literally one of the best independent movies I’ve ever seen and it’s well worth it! That’s why we’ve arranged a giveaway with director Frank Merle! We’ve got lots of questions, which makes this The Employer better than your average Hollywood flick!
e’re lulled in slowly, as we discover the real reason the characters are there, what they were doing the night before, and the lengths they would go to acquire their position in the company. A lot of movies out there try to deal with the concept of Darwinism and natural selection, surely, but what happens when the business world adopts that mentality? Hasn’t it already adopted that worldview? Success and profit mean everything, by whatever means necessary. The acting is absolutely great, so raw and totally believable. The script was dead on, testing psychological theories you’ve never even heard of. Somehow the story touched base with a famous psychological experiment famously known as The Milgram Experiment (1974). The basic idea was to see if people would do as they are told even if it conflicts with their own personal conscience:
“The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.” - wikipedia
DR. STRANGELOVE How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
If I had to describe this movie in one sentence, it would be: It starts off slow and ends in a Bang. My friend invited me to watch this movie with some of her acquaintances. Within a few minutes, she left the room because she was bored. Text ESTHER SIMERA Photo COLUMBIA PICTURES
y friend invited me to watch this movie with some of her acquaintances. Within a few minutes, she left the room because she was bored. Her loss (I even tried to get her to watch it with me again after the movie ended but no luck). I think her reaction is common. Whenever I watch a movie from a different culture and/or generation, it can take me some time to get use to the rhythm. For example, another friend I met in the US, who was from Guatemala, told me his family in Guatemala said he sounded like he was singing whenever spoke Spanish to them. But I digress. The first couple of minutes are not that bad, in fact, they help to lay the ground work for the movie. It starts out with a seemingly sensible looking U.S. Air Force General ordering his pilots to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. There is not a dull moment from that point and hilarious hijinks ensue. The audience soon finds out that the General was acting on his own deluded thinking, not an order from his superiors as one would assume, and your kept guessing till the very end whether or not disaster will be averted. I loved this movie because it was comedy at its best, managing to make you laugh and think. The movie and characters are completely ridiculous but so is war and, keeping in context of the movie, the cold war. There were and are many delusional people in powerful positions who could and do make decisions with catastrophic consequences. The General is not the only who shows poor judgment in the movie. The president and his aides, actually have to debate whether or not to stop the bombing. One of these trusted aides is a former Nazi, Dr. Strangelove. Dr. Strangelove is not just the movies namesake but a personification of the movie’s underlining theme. The Cold War was an irrational and unnecessary part of human history. At that point, the U.S. probably would work with anyone, even a former Nazi, to fight the Soviet Union. The conflict was so consuming, it blinded the political leaders to such hypocrisies.
This movie was made in the 60s, a time when people were challenging long held beliefs. It was very much a head of its time, though, because like the first friend I mentioned, many people didn’t get it. It was talking about something everyone feared, a nuclear end war, but it was completely absurd at the same time. Well, It’s time has come. AFV listed it third on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, and I give it four stars. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Your 49 years behind, time to catch up. When you’re done getting caught up, you can send me your suggestions and comments @EstherScene. Can’t wait to hear from you.
MOVIE PROFILE: RELEASED: 29 January 1964 COUNTRIES: USA & UK STARS: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden GENRES: Comedy, Sci-Fi, War MPAA RATING: R RUNTIME: 95 minutes PLOT: An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. 7
CLONED: The Recreator Chronicles is an insightful adventure into the psychological. Nothing is what it seems and that’s exactly the advantage director Gregory Orr. As I watched, I couldn’t even tell what would happen. Text SUFI MOHAMED Photo VISIONFILMS
ome people just don’t get this film, it’s not really for everyone, it’s basically for people who are waiting to be surprised. Somehow, after watching with a group of friends, they told me that the script was too dull, but what I told them really hit home: this isn’t just The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this is something more sinister and needs much more thought behind it What happens when your double is better, faster, stronger, and becomes the doer. There’s no place for hesitance, fear, and uncertainty. Humanity has been confronted with something else, but human created–the conundrum is not entirely visible until you learn towards the end. It’s not really like a catch-22 scenario, but it’s something that edges towards humanity’s drive towards perfection, of the ultimate need to conquer the previous generation. CLONED: The Recreator Chronicles was directed by Gregory Orr and stars Stella Maeve, Alexander Nifong, J. Mallory McCree, John de Lancie, and Laura Moss. The acting was absolutely brilliant, convincing and fluid. The casting is peculiar, because the actors seemed either incredibly talented or really damn good directing from Orr. I’d say it was a combination, a synthesis of clever directing and intriguing cinematography that really nails this one home. I would classify this film as non-mainstream. Lots of people just don’t get this movie, where it’s going and what it’s really about. It’s about the final question, who really is the person responsible and what was his motive? What is the point of their experiment and why did it need to happen? There are loads of questions that will leave you puzzled, that’s the beauty of Recreator, you really aren’t finished with the movie just yet.
MOVIE PROFILE: RELEASED: 17 February 2012 COUNTRIES: USA STARS: Stella Maeve, Alexander Nifong, J. MalloryMcCree GENRES: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MPAA RATING: PG-13 RUNTIME: 90 minutes PLOT: A group of teenagers stumble upon a secret lab and encounter superior clones of themselves.
Rabbit Hole, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, follows Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) as they struggle to maintain a shred of normalcy eight months after the death of their 4-year-old son, Danny. The overall arch of the film examines how we define grief and the difficulty of going on. Text KRISTINE SAHAGUN Photo OLYMPUS PICTURES
here is a sense of loneliness and separation as we watch Becca and Howie go through their blocks of time trying to make sense of their lives without their son. There are moments of temptation, helplessness, barely controlled rage, and periods of grief that become cathartic as we watch their private moments unfold. Distraction is offered in the form of other people. Becca must deal with her sister, Izzie’s (Tammy Blanchard) pregnancy. An underused Giancarlo Esposito offers slight comic relief as Izzie’s musician boyfriend Auggie, while Gabby (Sandra Oh) is a wife and bereaved mother who has been going to group counseling sessions for eight years. She offers Howie the taste of life without the wearisome load he is faced with at home.
Then there are the sections of art as a form of distraction for the audience. We watch the artist’s hand trace the trails of the rabbit hole. The mystery of it draws us in and becomes a way of connecting us to the artist’s interiority by stealthily asking the question: who am I and what is my muse? Or perhaps the question goes beyond the muse and tries to challenge us with the ease of how people try to find meaning in everything they see. Maybe the answers they find are not the right ones but only the conclusions they want. The film also tries to answer the question of blame, leaving to us wonder if pointing the finger is the answer to relief. Blame becomes something black and white in a situation where everyone involved are filled with emotions trembling just beneath the surface of a saving face. We watch Becca, calm and with a steady hand, gather her son’s clothes, wash them, and wait by the machine for them to dry. She is a solitary figure standing in her basement holding the basket to her chest. Here Mitchell shows us that there is grief even in the most mundane moments of the day. This film is filled with poignant scenes and the actors, whether alone or playing off each other, carry themselves with stoicism and a painful awareness of the absent child. The score, composed by Anton Sanko, is elegant and unassuming. It becomes a character in this movie about the intimacy that is found between husband and wife, mother and daughter, sisters and strangers. But the film shines in how the story is told. Written by David Lindsay Abaire and also based on his play “Rabbit Hole”, it is clear that he has effortlessly transitioned this story from stage to screenplay. We are never given the details all at once. The pieces are filled in scene by scene, and we discover where comfort can be found for two people who are trying to maintain their relationship and a firm grasp on their reality.
One such scene that stands out is the glimpse of a private moment with Howie sitting in the dark, the glare from his phone reflecting off his face, the sounds of his wife and child on a video he recorded filling the living room and echoing up to Becca who has long gone to bed without him. We watch as she recognizes the voices and goes downstairs to catch Howie smiling at the memory captured on his phone. We watch her pause and head back upstairs, leaving him to comfort himself in his own way. John Cameron Mitchell uses this scene in an almost voyeuristic manner, encouraging us to contemplate how easy it is to fall into a memory and be caught up by it. Her silence and his smile are actions asking us to recall moments in our lives when we try to gather up the things and the people who have slipped away. Do we, like Howie, find comfort in the repetition of recorded moments, or do we, like Becca, who clears Danny’s drawings off the fridge, try to find comfort in the burial of things belonging to a past that is easier to be forgotten? Rabbit Hole is an artful examination of absence and the awareness of it. It refuses to let us forget Becca’s and Howie’s loss. The film not only allows the characters to search for a form of comfort, but also questions this action. Becca, who refuses to turn to religion, asks her mother, Nat, (Dianne West) if it ever goes away- “it” being the pain in loss, and the awareness of it- the absence of this label only enforces the astounding subtlety of the screenplay. What follows is probably one of the most quietly sincere answers in the film, in which pain or loss is compared to a brick carried in a person’s pocket. After a while the weight of it is forgotten, but sometimes a hand reaches in to search for whatever it is looking for, and it touches the brick, and oh, there it is. West delivers the lines with astounding delicacy and the analogy is simple yet effective. But why Rabbit Hole? It is the title of a comic book created by Jason (an exquisitely quiet Miles Teller), a high school student connected with the tragedy. It focuses on the idea of alternate universes where copies of us exist in different situations, experiencing various emotions. So perhaps there is comfort in the idea that if you are going through a troubling time, somewhere there is another you who is happy. With compelling performances and fine direction, Rabbit Hole establishes a message of hope in loss that stays with you long after the closing credits: If you don’t seek comfort in god, or science, or yourself, try searching for it in others and maintain face in public because your private life is divided into sections of time where you can allow yourself to be swallowed up in grief, or reflect upon the remains of the day and what you have to carry on.
MOVIE PROFILE: RELEASED: 14 January 2011 COUNTRIES: USA STARS: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest GENRES: Drama MPAA RATING: PG-13 RUNTIME: 91 minutes PLOT: Life for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident.
Right down to the basics, the movie industry is all business. Like all businesses, each film has its own stakeholders, shareholders, staff, crew, actors, marketers and the list goes on and on. Above all, the break even point needs to be reached and an expected threshold to climb. Check list below for this Summer’s box office killers!
IRON MAN 3
Iron man is back and his naturally nefarious activities have led him into trouble again! Except this time he’s out to save the world from the evil villain, The Mandarin. With a budget of $200 million, its grossed thus far $407,358,766 (USA) (26 July 2013). In its opening weekend, it made $174,144,585 (USA) (3 May 2013) (IMDB).
DESPICABLE ME 2
In second place is Gru, the lovable villain with a good heart. Driven to become the only mega villain, Gru must stop one more evil than himself! Great family fun! With a budget of $76 million, its opening weekend earned it $83,517,315 (USA) (5 July 2013) and its grossed a total of $316,277,465 (USA) (1 August 2013) (IMDB).
MAN OF STEEL
Superman never seems to leave the North American conscience. He’s, perhaps, the most redone tale on Earth. The story is basically about his upbringing and his consequential family conflict. With a whopping budget of $225 million, its grossed only $116,619,362 (USA) (14 June 2013) and in total $287,214,823 (USA) (IMDB)
Monsters University is all about the experience of living on campus, the education, the rites of passage and an overall translation to show kids what adventure they have yet to experience! Budget: $200 million, opening weekend: $82,429,469 (USA) (21 June 2013), Box Office: $578.8 million (IMDB).
FAST & FURIOUS 6
Still on the getaway, fugitives Toretto (Diesel) must make a deal with the DSS in order to clear his name, he must infiltrate and take down a mercenary organization. Budget: $160 million, opening weekend: $97,375,245 (USA) (24 May 2013), Box Office: $745.6 million (IMDB).
OZ THE GREAT
OZ the Great & Powerful is really a wild family adventure. Directed by Sam Raimi, Oz is a pretty cool rendering the Wizard of Oz, but with a twist--Oz must survive the clutches of three witches. Budget: $215 million, opening weekend: $79,110,453 (USA) (8 March 2013), Box Office: $491,911,825(IMDB).
ST: INTO DARKNESS
Weâ€™re off to the Klingon Homeworld to seek a former starfleet member. Why did he end up being a terrorist? Thereâ€™s a lot at stake! Star Trek has really gone to new heights with tremendous 3D graphics. Budget: $190 million, opening weekend: $70,165,559 (USA) (17 May 2013), Box Office: $450,344,027 (IMDB).
MAN OF STEEL
Man of Steel was released on June 14th, 2013 and written by Warner Bros. studios. The success of Superman films over the years has proven that the man and legend of these classics has not left the minds of viewers, as a central guideline for greatness. Text KATHERINE KEHOE
is rise from outcast to hero is a struggle that has obviously been overlooked in most Superman remakes, but this version written by Warner Bros., captures a very honest account of the myth behind the legend. Heroes are powerful, not because of the deeds they are able to accomplish, but because of the strength we give them with our belief. Everyone wants to believe in someone who has the ability to lead by example. There is an extra plus here if this hero has a down-toearth personality, and a couple of very significant character flaws to embark some wisdom on us folks. Let’s begin by making Clark Kent an alien from another universe who by chance is raised in a small town Kansas- a poster child for the American dream with some very extraterrestrial skeletons hanging in his closet. While youngsters are grasping their ABCS, Clark realises quickly that his abilities like lifting cars and seeing through teachers skin are talents that make him more of a threat than a friend. We see people that are different and automatically think that we need to find ways to include them into them into the“status quo”.The reality, is in order for Clark to become Superman, he must accept he will never be like anyone on earth and that is perfectly okay if you have the ability to save the world. It isn’t his gift that creates his heroism it is his choice to form a character that is worthy of a hero. His talents become secondary against his human struggle for acceptance and love. For Clark Kent, his giftedness makes him fear his own strengths and from that attitude he must learn to hide his true identity. Interestingly, enough he has a tie to another universe that also believes him as one of their own and they are very pissed that the prodigal son does not want to come home for dinner. Throughout the film we see the battle fought not only between aliens and earthlings but between Clark and his own sense of belonging and morality.
It would be very easy to betray the humans and jump on board the mothership, but Clark truly became the bridge between worlds that his parent’s intended him to be. What viewers are able to imagine is the reality that even our greatest heros have insecurities and that even without the cape and gown the actual Kryptonite belongs to the acceptance and validation by society. Our heros need us just as much as we need them to be the people we envision them to be. In order to see how much you have grown you must know how to test your limits. A quote from the 2013 film Man of Steel , that seems to be the basis of Clark’s inner conflict within this film. Overall, more than an action film this version of Man of Steel promises to be a more realistic and honest account of the human condition, because before he can save the world, he’s got to get some counselling over Daddy issues.
MOVIE PROFILE: RELEASED: 14 Jun 2013 COUNTRIES: USA, Canada, & UK non,
STARS: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael ShanGENRES: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MPAA RATING: PG-13 RUNTIME: 143 minutes
PLOT: A young journalist is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
Johnny Depp is back to relive Pirates of the Caribbean. Not exactly relive, but it’s close. There’s been great tension throughout the filming process that The Lone Ranger (Ranger) would become a flop. Text SUFI MOHAMED
Acting-wise, Depp is absolutely superb. He’s quick with the motions, fast with the words, and confident in rendering Tonto in a believable way. For those of you who’ve seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, you’ll notice that the narrative re-telling is quite the same and that the inspiration is crystal clear. Lighting, camera, action is pretty much duplicated. The only difference between The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Lone Ranger is clearly the budget. The Lone Ranger theme song is pretty good, the same with the Lone Ranger costumes. I’m not sure if you would classify it as one of the best western movies, I certainly don’t. If you haven’t seen Valence, I’d say that it’s about time!
n our case, we believe that the film truly attempted to explore its world in a way that makes you wonder, “Is this somehow related to the Pirates of the Caribbean?” The film brings an all-star cast in a dramatic uncharted chapter to the sister story, Caribbean. The hype surrounding the masked vigilante, stuck in a wild wild west scenario, brings together an intricate ensemble with Johnny Depp (Tonto), Armie Hammer (Ranger), and William Fichtner (Cavendish). The story-line and screenplay follow a highly linear, action-packed adventure. The story is intricate, linear, and quite easy to follow. Plot twists aren’t plenty, the acting is not dynamic and there is evidently a strong reliance towards the linearity of a traditional cowboy adventure. Experimentations are lacking, only the clear-cut square rigidness are made evident. By that, I mean that the action is wholly predictable and that the story lacks the adventure so carefully sought after by traditional western films. Cinematographically, it was off the roof. There was an intense concentration in the cinematography than anything else. Character development was merely an excuse to exaggerate the scenes, beautify the extreme life of a westerner, and to really force you to see something other than the story. I felt as though this was an artificial, unnecessary exasperation of an already created classic of the 1949 TV serial and its 1959 film of the same name. This is exactly as we’ve feared, a complete bastardization and over-budgeted farce of strangeness and unimaginable nonsense. Before, you’ll notice the 1949 rendering of Tonto, the one shown after. We’re looking at the same character, rendered completely different to suit a more extravagant audience. My question is: are the audience really looking for something like this exaggerated costume? Somehow, Disney thinks that they can blend this into a kind of a “sister” series of the Caribbean saga.
Anyways, don’t watch it and save your money!
MOVIE PROFILE: RELEASED: 3 July 2013 COUNTRIES: USA, Canada, & UK STARS: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner GENRES: Action, Adventure, Western, MPAA RATING: PG-13 RUNTIME: 149 minutes PLOT: Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.
KILLER ASIAN MOVIES OldBoy (2003) - HanCinema OLDBOY (2003)
Oldboy is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated, brutal suspense-filled, drama-packed, movie of all time. If you think you’ve had your share with Saw, wait till you see this! Imagine being imprisoned for 15 years, unsure why or who and then you’re released. What would you do? Look for your captor, but where do you start? Knowing you left your daughter behind, you’re dying to find her and something isn’t right. This movie is something unlike anything you’ve ever seen, drama to a level you can’t even comprehend. The story is so tightly packed, plot continues to thicken and the fear within will melt you from the inside out. If this is the first time you’ve laid eyes on a Korean film, this is one to start with.
Running across the Korean landscape is ex-detective TaeSik (Sol Kyung-Gu) paid to discover the darkest secrets of relationships. Unwittingly, Tae-Sik finds him running across the city landscape in search of the one who framed him for murder, using his unconventional detective methods, you’d think that he’d get himself killed throughout the entire time. There’s something amis and he feels that he has a duty to uncover the plot, the reason, and the purpose and whether or not he can really trust his closest friends. Calling his partners from in the police department, he sets out to find the person that so badly wants to frame him.
Korean cinema is intelligent, brilliant, cunning and witty. Koreans take drama to the next level, towering in science-fiction, romance, comedy and thrillers. Korean films are absolutely marvelous!
MAN OF VENDETTA (2010)
When a missing child case goes cold, the only means left are personal. The police have given up, even our protagonist. The story unfolds peacefully, until our naïve Pastor witnesses the brutality of humanity that he is left to question the only faith he’s ever known--God. Knowing that God had abandoned him, he seeks his own retribution through any means necessary, even at the cost of his own life. Vengeance is beyond his control, his only true feeling. Nothing can stand in the way of saving his daughter.
This is a comical adventure story about a vampire. Constantly bullied, our protagonist witnesses a woman being raped. The next day, he’s different. Later, his new friend teaches him the way of the vampire and learns the bitter truth about friendship, loss, and forgiveness. He saves his only friend, leaves family, and sacrifices everything to save his love. A refreshing tale on the vampire story, mint refreshing enough to make you believe in vampires. Tired of the boring Twilight series? Give Hero a shot, you’ll love it!
FLY HIGH (2009)
Starring Kim-Beom from Psychometry, Fly High is an interesting voyeuristic-style composition deploying both dramatic and romantic plot mixed in with loads of getaway sequences. A struggling actor gets thrown into the world of deceit, lies and treachery as he does everything in his power to find out who a particular woman really is and what about her is so special. Fly High, I dare you!
This was a really interesting movie, full of complex plot twists and unforeseeable events based on a cause and effect sequence that, from the beginning, you can trace till the end. It’s not a typical Armageddon-style movie, it’s more thought-provoking. The movie never ceases to surprise you and the end will leave you wondering: how did that even happen? or damn that movie was awesome. What would happen if you ended up seeing people just drowning, that they were eager to drown? Why would they do that? What’s the purpose behind that? Who seeks to benefit from the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? Why the sudden moment, what’s so special about this time and this place for the killings? These are questions that the director, Jeong-woo Park, hopes to achieve, and so he does tremendously. It’s not uncommon that South Korean films use complex imagery and transitory editing schemes, often it would not be watchable for a devoted Hollywood movie-goer. The story begins with the sudden emergence of floating bodies on the beach shore and at the same time we begin to establish strong relations with Jae-hyuk, a man strongly devoted to his family. He’s worked in the medical sector and now seeks something in that field, but he begins to notice something really strange is happening around him. Somehow people are becoming thirsty and his wife and child are also becoming thirsty. What kind of medical reasons would there be, when there is enough water around, for people to get thirsty? This isn’t your typical Hollywood garbage where the reasons become so obvious in accordance with the first 10 seconds of the film, rather, we learn the reasons towards the ending and the entire time we’re wondering what is going on. This atypical structure often causes confusion because of the constant devotion paid towards Jae-Hyuk, others will be wondering: shouldn’t there be another story in the meantime? Well, there is, it’s just happening behind the scenes. We basically learn of the events that are unfolding around the same time as Jae-Hyuk does. Give it a try, you’ll see that this is an amazing movie and worth the watch! Below you can check out the exact details, enjoy!
“One of the most complicated, and highly developed narrative with both cunning and brilliance. “
The Man from Nowhere THE MAN FROM NOWHERE (2010)
A tremendously, highly action-packed drama of a shopkeeper with an ultra-violent past, working his way through life trying not to be seen suddenly becomes part of a maniacal plot to destroy the one thing he’s only known--a child who is his only friend. Director Jeong-beom Lee artistically dramatized the coming-of-age tale of a lonesome nobody who has always been in search of peace and true wisdom. Using his only true wisdom, our protagonist Cha Tae-sik (Won Bin) leaves his peace in search of something more fulfilling, but what can a return to violence offer? The Man from Nowhere has such beautiful cinematography that the characters appear so real, the staging and lighting are so artfully rendered, just like in the picture above. Shot largely in the same style as The Transporter ( Jason Statham), director Lee challenges Tae-sik to the very fabric, beyond the world of violence and to push himself towards self-sacrifice in order to protect the girl, Somi. For those of you who have seen Denzel Washington’s Man on Fire will find this highly refreshing and emotionally energizing. The lengths that a man will go to save a girl is unknown, but its the act of forgiveness that inspires.
This is perhaps one of the most complicated, highly developed narrative both cunning and inquisitive. I believe that it’s also one of the most misunderstood films, because the concept of re-cycle is very traditional to Japanese culture and almost alien to North American audiences. Directed by the Pang Brothers, Re-Cycle employs traditional horror sequences, fantastical environment, and dynamic philosophical inquiries that are evident in Asian cultures. A struggling writer and lead character, Tsui TingYin, finds herself in a world that she’s created, unknown to her that it’s also an amalgamation of everyone’s discarded thoughts, not only Ting-Yin’s. The film centers around the concept of a return, a return to the end, a return to the beginning. This means that the end and the beginning are the same, but this re-cycle that occurs also in the spiritual world also occurs in the living. Central to the theme is the concept of the forgotten: the aborted babies, the forgotten graves that are no longer visited and worshipped, the deaths of thousands that are unnamed and unknown. The spiritual world is changing, morphing on a regular basis. You could consider it being renewed, eroded.
All things give off their own energy, viewed differently, we can conceive the world as merely an embodiment of energy, flowing within each of us. Text SUFI MOHAMED Photo HANCINEMA Conceiving our world in this manner allows us to visualize the unseen, with the understanding that, through energy, all things are bound and all knowledge is stored. We see the world as entities that exist separately, all things have their own space and exist uniquely. So what’s the definition of psychometry? The supposed ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them (dictionary.com). This is a prototype Korean film, both introspective and highly conscious. Unlike the detective films that you’re used to, allow me to breakdown what really is at the heart of Psychometry. Psychometry is an artistic Korean film deploying intense, dramatic and thrilling adventure that brings you closer to the world of the detective, as he puzzles together the story of the mysterious painter. Typical of the detective films, detective Chun-dong is set on the case of that missing girl, but to his surprise he finds a graffiti painting that foreseen the disappearance of that girl. Using semi-conventional detective storyline and a truly unknown protagonist (you are at an odds, who is the protagonist?), we find ourselves enraptured in a cinematography of beauty, cunning, and wit. Staging and the lighting depict a very well astute director, acting is tremendously good, the violence just right, and the photography shows much more than you think. Director Kwon Ho-Jung composed a brilliant story of this psychic character who has had horrible experiences with his power, until he learns that his power can save people he is lead on a gruelling adventure with detective Chun-dong. The choice of scenes, direction and the pace of the film are extremely good, beautifully cast and the acting (especially their screams) bring you back to the shrilling sensation long ago in Halloween. There’s much to be learned from in Korean films, this is why I feel Psychometry is an incredible film for a beginner looking to watch some Korean films. This is beyond any Korean movie you ever seen, definitely sitting at the top Korean films of all time (on my list anyway)!
DEATH BELL Text SUFI MOHAMED Photo HanCinema
icious and insanely insane, Death Bell brings together some of the most visually appealing, gripping horrors since The Ring. In horror films, predictability is a key. Horror films use comparative imagery, dialogue sequences that are both brief and subtle, and complex plot devices that appear, at the first viewing, very basic and simple. Using your familiarity with the genre, Death Bell burrows deep within the recesses of your mind to bring you something chilling and unexpected. This film is a heavy commentary on student life and the enormous pressures they face. With everything at stake, students are given the one chance to make their lives and their parent’s that much easier--excel in all areas of school, in all subjects. There is a hierarchy, scholarships, and prestige at stake and the amount of pressure is insurmountable. With the thirst to impress at its peak, students are brought together into an “elite” temporary class, in which the best of them all will be chosen to move on for greater opportunities. What happens when one of them was deliberately left behind? Did you know that South Korea is considered the “suicide capital” of the world? BBC News reported that roughly 40 people commit suicide per day, because the pressures of satisfying their parents and being the best is something that students have to abide by. Much is at stake, more than the students realize. When they begin to form the pieces of the most difficult questions, it is too late.
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INFO All our reviews are done independently, unaffected or swayed by any contaminating influence. We know what its like in big media, the dollar signs that can tarnish any growing literary-based organization. We’re curious, energetic, and interested in various genres. We’re open-minded and we recognize the variety and culturally dependent films can be. We’re inspired all the time and we truly engage in all aspects of film production and maintain a fresh understanding of them. We bring films down to earth, explain their cultural milieu and what aspects of those films explain day-to-day life.
Going in-depth into Korean cinema, this summer's box office hits, and the latest in Hollywood.