London Korean Times Films of the Year 2012
Lee Byung Hun has done a really good job in portraying two characters: serious character and funny character. He managed to act well in a historical film which I’m really impressed. On the other hand, Ryu Seung Ryong is great in portraying a serious and great friend character to King Gwang Hee. As a viewer, I was brought back in the era of King Gwang Hee. Both settings and costumes are eye-catching. The use of seriousness and royal language catches my attention. I was moving in my seat while I enjoyed this film. Even though there’s a lack of focus on the female characters, it’s still worth the time to watch this breathtaking historical film with great casts, settings, and costumes. This film deserves to have awards and recognition internationally.
2. The Thieves
A group of thieves with various characters that you would love (mostly) and hate about them. Their on a mission to get the treasure while some have their own motives. A mix of adventure and action from one country to another. From Seoul to Hong Kong to Macau and then to Busan. I love the mix of cast members of this film: from Kim Yoon Suk to Kim Hye Soo to Jeon Ji Hyun to Simon Yam to Kim Soo Hyun. The first half is great but the second half has lost its touch. There are lots of actions and humours going on in this film. However, like I said before, the story was lost after the first section of this film.
3. Dancing Queen
I absolutely love this film. I laughed and cried. You could imagine me whacking an empty seat. It was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. The storyline was perfect. A married couple who has their own dreams. Jung Hwa wants to be a singer while Jung Min wants to be a politician. Both of their dreams clash among each other and figure out how to be happy for not only for each other but also themselves. The soundtracks are amazing. I was humming and grooving along with these songs. It is a must-see film to watch.
Director Jung Ji Woo has done something out of the picture: a relationship between an old man and a young girl. The film shows how an aging person craves to have youth and love. Although the topic about older people craving for youth and love is hardly talked about in the Korean society, Director Jung has done a good job in portraying the older generations’ perspectives visually. I love how the characters are explored with clarity. Hae Il portrayed an old man in his 70s well. Go Eun deserves to receive awards for her great acting skills. Even though this film is adapted from a novel, I really want to read that novel as I know the story itself is slightly different. Overall, I feel emotionally attached to this film.
5. The Grand Heist
I almost love everything about this film. Yet, I only love two things about this film: the cinematography and characters. Each character with different personality and they work together so well. It was so funny that I laughed so much especially with unexpected scenes. The funny antics were so good that my cheek muscles were ‘exercised’. Duk Moo and Dong Soo are the perfect duo to beat the baddies. As for the cinematography, I was on an adventure with the crazy team in the Joseon Period especially between the tunnel and the ice palace. I definitely give thumbs up to this film.
6. Spring, Snow
When you watched this film, I assure you that you’ll be in tears. This is a perfect example to think about mothers who have been working so hard for the family. It is also another example to see how each family member support each other. Even though it is a low budget film with great casts like Yoon Suk Hwa, it has a clear storyline with meaningful messages. So, you should prepare a box of tissue paper. Just in case.
You can love and hate it but in a good way. It has a well-balanced of characters with different personalities. Seon Young turns out to be a psycho murderer who has harsh pasts while Mun Ho still cares for her and wants to find out the truth. Jong Geun takes his detective work seriously and sometimes tends to be funny. It is a great way to solve the mysteries and find the truth about Seon Young. She may be the perfect fiancée but she’s not. My mind set calm, then serious, then start to get mental because the storyline slowly starts to make me feel so intense. Yet, it is a slow and steady mystery thriller film.
8. In Another Country
It is by choice on how you want to set the story. Imagine yourself being a storywriter who writes a story about a French woman, “Anne”, visit a seaside town in Buan, North Jeolla. A great love and classic film with a hint of laughter. If you watch together as a group, you’ll discuss which a suitable plot for the story is. It visually shows how a foreign lady is able to communicate and enjoy her days in Buan. The script itself is executed perfectly. There are no complicated scenes. It is just plain and simple yet enjoyable to watch.
9. Nameless Gangster
A great classic Busan, Korean gangster film to watch. An idea about how it happened among the Korean gangsters during the 1980s to 1990s. There are interesting conversations which are funny and make senses especially through the characters’ use of Busan accent. Choi Min Sik has made a comeback through this film. However, don’t you think that he looks bloated in this film? At first, you would enjoy film but you might find that there are some things that should be put in the middle of film. There is lack of spices to this film to make me feel the intensity. Although the conversations and actions are great, but there is actually something missing.
10. All About My Wife
This film has absolutely make me laughed so hard that my stomach ache, hands are red from clapping too much, and my cheek muscles were stretched. Soo Jung looks perfect but she nags all the time. Sun Kyun tries to make him not so stressed out by Soo Jung’s constant nagging. The Cassanova, acted by Ryu Seung Ryong, is the one who made me laughed so much. I thought he is the actor who mostly portrayed serious characters. But not, he portrayed the dramatic Cassanova. There is a clear message in this film: even though there are naggings and quarrelling, the married couple still have each other and support each other. Watch this film. Trust me. You won’t regret it.
I recommend you guys should watch these films. To know more about my reviews of these selections of films and others, you can check my column. Not only films, but dramas too. Looking forward to review more films in 2013. Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews.