Coming Soon: Korean Movies 2016 April 13

We have some big midweek releases on April 13, 2016 as it's Voting Day and a national holiday in Korea! ...Read More

Fourth Place (4등)

  • Directed by: Jung Ji-woo
  • Starring: Park Hae-joon, Yoo Jae-sang, Lee Hang-na, Choi Moo-sung, Jung Ga-ram, Lee Seung-joon, Oh Dae-hwan, Nam Moon-chul
  • Summary: Joon-ho (Park Hae-joon) is a young swimmer who always ranks 4th place in swimming competitions that brand him the nickname “4th Place” by his overly demanding mother. She expects more of him and finds his inability to place unacceptable. When she hires a new swim coach, Kwang-soo (Park Hae-joon), Joon-ho’s next competition earns him a silver medal that greatly pleases his parents. However, they notice bruises all over his body..

Director Jung Ji-woo has made some impressive films so far that include Happy End (1999) and Eungyo (2012). He has been able to bring out the best in his actors as his films tend to feature powerful, award winning performances. 4th Place looks to be full of drama and emotion as it seems to touch on the infamous “tiger” parenting style (usually academically) which has become almost the norm in Korea. Parents expect nothing but perfection from the child in order for them to have the best advantage in their future. This often results in intense competition and puts immense pressure and stress on the child. The trailer looks promising and and I’m predicting a strong local turnout for this one. Expectations: High Interest: High


 Love, Lies (해어화)

  • Directed by: Park Heung-sik
  • Starring: Han Hyo-joo, Yoo Yeon-seok, Chun Woo-hee, Park Sung-woong, Jang Young-nam, Lee Han-wi, Ryoo Hye-young, Cha Ji-yeon
  • Summary: Set during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930’s, the film centers on the lives three central characters and their relationship to each other: So-yool (Han Hyo-joo), a gisaeng (professional entertainer) who aspires to be Korea’s best singer; Yeon-hee (Chun Woo-hee), another gisaeng and So-yool’s best friend; and songwriter/producer Yoon-woo (Yoo Yeon-seok).

It looks like we will be getting another major release set during the Japanese occupation. The roles of gisaeng that the two leading ladies are playing is something comparable to the Japanese geisha. Their occupational skills/duties included singing, dancing, and engaging in fun conversation, and sometimes sleeping with their customers who they entertain in typically high-end establishments. Love, Lies looks to be focusing primarily on the ambition and artistry of these women within this organization.

The stories depicting hard times set either during the Japanese occupation or post Korean war have yielded huge admissions as of recent with films like Ode To My Father (2014), Assassination (2015), Spirits’ Homecoming (2016), and Dongju: Portrait of a Poet (2016). This in combination with singing contests and other idol programs being all the rage with young people in Korea these days, the local appetite seems incredibly strong for a film like this. Not to mention the popularity of the three leads being fairly high, it’s safe to expect Love, Lies to perform quite well even though the director’s previous efforts left many underwhelmed. Expectations: Moderate Interest: Moderate


Time Renegades (시간이탈자)

  • Directed by: Kwak Jae-young
  • Starring: Lim Soo-jung, Lee Jin-wook, Cho Jeong-seok, Lee Min-ho, Jung Jin-young, Lee Ki-woo, Jung Woong-in, On Joo-wan, Park A-sung
  • Summary: –New Year’s Day 1983: Ji-wan (Cho Jung-seok) is an elementary school teacher who is engaged to marry his girlfriend and colleague Yoon-jeong (Lim Soo-jung). One night, he gets stabbed with a knife and loses consciousness.–New Year’s Day 2015: Gun-woo (Lee Jin-wook) is a homicide detective who is shot in the streets while chasing down a criminal.With a time interval of 30 years, at the same time, same day, and same hospital, Ji-wan and Gun-woo make a special connection as they both struggle for their lives. Since this day, the two men begin to see each other’s lives through their dreams. Through their connection, Gun-woo gets to see a lot of Ji-wan’s fiancee Yoon-jeong too, and develops an affection for her.Gun-woo is able to use the information he learns from Ji-wan to solve some cold cases his superior Detective Kang (Jung Jin-young) has him working on. He also coincidentally spots a woman named So-eun (Lim Soo-jung) who looks exactly like Yoon-jeong who he has been seeing in his dreams…

    When Gun-woo realizes one of the cold cases he needs to file is the murder of Yoon-jeong from 30 years back, Gun-woo and So-eun begin to investigate. At the same time, Ji-wan also shockingly learns of Yoon-jeong’s harrowing  fate through the dream connection…and will do anything to prevent it.

    Together, through time, Ji-wan and Gun-woo struggle prevent the death of their loved ones as their cooperation affects both the past and the future. They are Time Renegades!

Director Kwak Jae-young is the man behind the world famous (now classic) Korean romantic comedy My Sassy Girl (2001) and the much adored and more sentimental Classic (2003). The time bending elements of Time Renegades sounds very ambitious and hopefully doesn’t come off as too silly or gimmicky. As the director’s first project in eight years, let’s hope he gets this one right. Expectations: Moderate Interest: High


Actors: Cho Jung-seok made his film debut in the well received Architecture 101 (2012). Lim Soo-jung is known for her work in Kim Ji-woon’s horror classic A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), and her more recent award winning performance in the hilarious and entertaining All About My Wife (2012). Lee Jin-wook has only recently appeared in film like last year’s The Beauty Inside (2015) but is known for his many roles in different drama series over the last 10 years.


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