London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “A Taxi Driver” at the Picturehouse Central Cinema on Monday August 14th, 18:30

The UK premiere of A Taxi Driver will take place on Monday, August 14th at 18:30 as part of the London Korean Film Festivals teaser screenings in the lead-up to the next London Korean Film Festival which will be held from October 26th to November 19th.

A Taxi Driver is a road-movie based on the true story of a taxi driver named Kim Sa-bok taking a German reporter named Jurgen Hinzpeter to cover the Gwangju Uprising (May 18th – 27th, 1980). The film stars Song Kang-ho (The Quiet Family, Joint Security Area, Thirst) and Yu Hae-jin (Public Enemy, Kick the Moon, The Flu, Veteran). It’s released on August 02nd in Korea so to have it released in the UK so soon is a great deal!

Here are the details:

A Taxi Driver Film Poster

Continue reading “London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “A Taxi Driver” at the Picturehouse Central Cinema on Monday August 14th, 18:30”

Veteran (2015)

Veteran   Veteran Film Poster

Release Date: August 05th, 2015

Running Time: 123 mins.

Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan

Writer: Ryoo Seung-Wan (Screenplay)

Starring: Hwang Jung-Min, Yoo Ah-In, Yu Hae-Jin, Oh Dal-Su, Jang Yoon-Ju, Kim Shi-Hoo, Jung Woong-in, Cheon Ho-Jin, Jeong Man-Sik,

Ryoo Seung-Wan follows up The Berlin File (2013) with this much more light-hearted action romp taking aim at the Chaebol, family-run mega-conglomerates that dictate much of the financial and business side of Korea. There is little sophistication in terms of its story which uses broad brushstrokes to illustrate a world where a dedicated team of cops take on an extremely violent, criminally corrupt and callous corporate playboy who abuses his powers in ludicrous ways.

Veteran Bad Guys 3

The playboy in this film is the baby-faced Cho Tae-Oh (Yoo Ah-In), an executive at Sin Jin Trading who dresses sharply and has a smile to die for. As the son of the CEO’s second wife he is battling his siblings for control of the company and must be seen to be doing a good job if he wants the glory. While most people can accept being denied something or having to work hard, Tae-Oh’s family connections see him treated like a prince and so when he doesn’t get what he wants, oh boy.  Beneath the cute exterior lies a cocaine-fuelled sadistic psycho who trashes his office, beats up his bodyguards, threatens his staff. His biggest problem is his hair-trigger temper which is unleashed whenever he doesn’t get his way in business and life. Normally, he is a spoilt brat who has no problem humiliating people in order to dominate them and likes to throw parties where underage girls and hard drugs are passed around by politicians, plastic surgeons and pretty boys looking to go wild for a night. Nobody is untouchable in his world…apart from him. This leads to him putting a man in a coma.

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The Flu

Genki The Flu Review Banner Dr Kim In-Hae (Soo-Ae)

The Flu                                                                             The Flu Film Poster

Release Date: August 14th, 2013 (South Korea)

Running Time: 121 mins.

Director: Kim Sung-Su

Writer: Kim Sung-Su, Lee Young-Jong

Starring: Jang Hyuk, Soo-Ae, Park Min-Ha, Yu Hae-Jin, Ma Dong-Seok, Lee Hee-Joon, Lee Sang-Yeob, Cha In-Pyo. Kim Ki-Hyeon, Andrew William Brand

When I saw The Flu advertised on the billboard of my local cinema I was surprised because it has been around four years since I last saw a Korean film play there and that was back at the tail end of the glory days of the Korean New Wave of the 2000’s. It turns out that the guys and girls behind the Korean Film Festival were instrumental in making sure it reached cinemas across the UK. Their choice is a canny one because the film has huge appeal due to its big-budget approach to the popular disaster genre.

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Desire to Kill / Enemy at the Dead End

Genkina hito Desire to Kill Pictures Review Banner

Desire to Kill / Enemy at the Dead End     Desire to Kill DVD Case

Korean Release Date: 26th of August, 2010

UK DVD Release Date: 20th August 2012 (Terror-cotta)

Running Time: 91 mins.

Directors: Owen Cho, Kim Sang-Hwa

Writers: Owen Cho, Kim Sang-Hwa

Starring: Cheon Ho-Jin, Yu Hae-Jin, Seo Hyo-Lim, Kim Seo-Hyung, Ra Mi-Ran, Ahn Eun-Jung, Lee Jeong-Heon,

Desire to Kill is the debut feature by Owen Cho and Kim Sang-Hwa but you would never know it because this thriller is so well put together with such flair and smart writing it makes many other films from more experienced directors look creatively barren.

After the death of his wife, Kim Min-Ho (Cheon Ho-Jin) repeatedly tries to commit suicide. His efforts leave him in hospital and paralysed from neck down. He is overwhelmed by his muddled memories and the desire to kill the murderer of his wife. When an unconscious man named Sang-Up (Yu Hae-Jin) is brought into Kim Min-Ho’s room he discovers that he is the murderer and is suffering amnesia and paralysis. The two are under the care of Nurse Ha (Seo Hyo-Rim) and Dr. Paik (Kim Seo-Hyung) who is performing brain surgery on Sang-Up whilst feeding the two an untested medicine named AAP. Kim Min-Ho finds himself in a race to recover before Sang-Up so he can exact his revenge.

The film begins on July 25th 1984 with Min-Ho stating “Weather clear. I plan to kill a man today but I can’t remember his face.” This is the start of a film which features a great thriller plot accompanied by black comedy all wrapped up in great visuals but what really impresses is the exploration of memory.

Memory can be a tricky thing. When we bring in different interpretations it can be the least reliable thing around. It is a subject regularly explored in films like Memento, The Bourne Identity and Retribution. If I had to make a comparison with another film it would be Oldboy as it gives us two characters defined by memory, or lack of it in one case, and pulls back their layers of memory as part of an intricately constructed plot tied to one character’s desire to kill.

Sang-Up and Min-Ho in Desire to Kill Continue reading “Desire to Kill / Enemy at the Dead End”