Friday, July 31, 2015

Film Review: The Con Artists (2014)

The Con Artists (aka The Technicians)
Kim Hong-sun/Kim Woo-bin/2014
Where To Watch:
Netflix Instant
Amazon Prime

"It is certainly generic, but also entertaining."

Ji-hyuk (Kim Woo-bin), a master safe-cracker, teams up with his fellow swindlers for his grandest job yet...

The Con Artists follows Ji-hyuk, a charismatic safe-cracker living the good life thanks to his many successful burglaries. When he steals valuable jewelry from a shop owned by gang boss Chairman Cho (Kim Yeong-cheol), Cho recruits Ji-hyuk for a job of massive proportions in the Incheon Customs – stealing $150 million from a high-security area within 40 minutes. Ji-hyuk is joined by his clumsy pal Koo-in (Ko Chang-seok) and genius, conniving hacker Jong-bae (Lee Hyun-woo). The film leads to the climax you're expecting – you know, where the film recaps every twist and turn for you – and a cheesy ending.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Film Review: Our Town (2007)

Our Town (Review)
Jeong Gil-yeong/Oh Man-seok/2007
Where To Watch:
Netflix Instant
Amazon Instant

"...explores the serial killer psyche while providing plenty of thrills and chills."

A serial killer terrorizes a small town by crucifying his female victims in public locations...

Our Town follows Kyung-ju (Oh Man-seok), a struggling crime novelist with piling debt. One day, Kyung-ju murders his landlord and copies the serial killer's methods. Meanwhile, Jae-sin (Lee Sun-kyun), Kyung-ju's detective friend, searches for any evidence leading to the elusive serial killer – oblivious of Kyung-ju's actions. At the same time, the actual serial killer, Hyo-i (Ryu Deok-hwan), continues his murder spree and teases Kyung-ju while doing so. So, Kyung-ju and Jae-sin team up to catch him while unraveling the secrets of their pasts. The film leads to a satisfying climax and ending – the ending was a little dragged out, though.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Film Review: Gangnam Blues (2015)

Gangnam Blues (aka Gangnam 1970) (Review)
Yoo Ha/Lee Min-ho/2015
Where To Watch:
Netflix Instant
Amazon Prime

"...ambitious, epic, and entertaining."

In the 1970s, Gangnam is targeted by corrupt politicians and gangsters as a future development area. Caught in the crossfire, penniless childhood friends Jong-dae (Lee Min-ho) and Yong-ki (Kim Rae-won) find a golden opportunity...

Gangnam Blues follows Jong-dae and Yong-ki. When their shanty in Gangnam is demolished, Jong-dae and Yong-ki are recruited by Gil-soo (Jung Jin-young), a local gang boss, for a political skirmish. In the process, Jong-dae and Yong-ki are separated. Three years later, Jong-dae finds himself living an honest life with Gil-soo, now retired, and his daughter. Meanwhile, Yong-ki has joined a powerful criminal organization involved in high-stakes, corrupt real estate. Both striving for more, Jong-dae seeks to recreate Gil-soo's gang, while Yong-ki seeks to rise up. The film has a memorable climax – if you know Yoo Ha, you know the type of brawl to expect. The ending is also great.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Film Review: Twenty (2015)

Twenty (Review)
Lee Byeong-hun/Kim Woo-bin, Lee Joon-ho/2015
Where to watch:
Netflix Instant
Amazon Prime

"...a hilarious examination and celebration of youth."

Friends Chi-ho (Kim Woo-bin), Dong-woo (Lee Jong-ho), and Kyung-jae (Kang Ha-neul) stick together and persevere through their roaring twenties...
Twenty follows this quirky trio of friends through their early twenties. Kim Chi-ho is the slacker player of the group — content with living the day sitting still and partying the night away. Kyung-jae attends college and quickly makes a drunken fool of himself, while capturing the attention of the beautiful and financially-talented Jin-ju (Min Hyo-rin). Meanwhile, Dong-woo works multiple jobs and repeats his last year of school in hopes of becoming a comic book artist, while trying to support his suddenly impoverished family. Together and apart, the group go through several trials and tribulations – usually ending in hilarity. The film leads to a hilariously epic slapstick climax; however, it does sort of land on your lap from thin air, really barely being built up since it utilizes characters you only see for a few seconds in an earlier scene. Regardless, the entire film ends on a high-note.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Film Review: Ode To My Father (2014)

Ode To My Father (Review)
Yoon Je-kyoon/Hwang Jung-min/2014
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"Despite its flaws, the film is extremely effective."

The story of Yoon Deok-soo (Hwang Jung-min), whom, during the Korean War, is given the title of "the man of the house" as a young boy.

Ode To My Father is like a puzzle with missing pieces. We have enough pieces to make some clear images, but some of the bridges and gaps are missing. In other words, Ode To My Father goes over certain significant events of Yoon Deok-soo — from a child in the Korean War to an elderly man with a happy family. Deok-soo lives through the Korean War in poverty, travels to Germany in the 60s to become a miner and earn money for his family, and enters the Vietnam War on business. All of his sacrificial actions come from his promise to his father — take care of the family until he returns. It leads to a simple yet effective ending.