The Wailing (2016) - News Poster

(2016)

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Film Review: ‘Idol’

  • Variety
How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie by way of depraved psychological murder mystery, “Idol” mainly functions to give the increasingly exhausted viewer a greater appreciation for the work of Lee’s more internationally well-known peers in Korean genre cinema. Seemingly an attempt at the kind of stylishly nasty, unpredictable, category-defying thrill ride that Park Chan-wook or Bong Joon-ho can make look dazzlingly easy by comparison with their tonal high-wire acts, this fallen “Idol” takes an early tumble and spends the rest of an unnecessary 144 minutes getting hopelessly tangled in the safety net.

The film does boast an arresting opening narration, however.
See full article at Variety »

FilMart: ‘Idol,’ ‘No Mercy’ Sell Well for Korea’s Finecut

  • Variety
This month’s FilMart rights market in Hong Kong was a busy one for South Korean indie sales house Finecut. It completed multiple license deals.

Berlinale Panorama title “Idol” was acquired by New Select for Japan and Apex Success Global for Taiwan. Directed by indie sensation Lee Su-jin the neo-noir thriller sees the story of a politician who faces the worst crisis of his career due to his son’s car accident. The film stars some of the best-known actors in the country: Han Seok-kyu (“The Berlin File”); Sul Kyung-gu (“The Merciless”) and Chun Woo-hee (“The Wailing”). Locally distributed by Cgv Arthouse, “Idol” opened in Korea on Mar. 20.

Action thriller “No Mercy” scored deals with Busch Media for German-speaking Europe, Borsalino for Latin America, Culture Entertainment for Japan and Av-Jet for Taiwan. Directed by Lim Kyung-tack and starring Lee Si-young, “No Mercy” revolves around a woman searching for her missing sister,
See full article at Variety »

Film review: Idol (2019) by Lee Su-jin

One thing is certain: Lee Su-jin’s second feature “Idol” (“Woo sang” in the original language) is a head-spinning thrill ride of a movie which, in the end, can become exhausting. Having in mind Lee’s previous feature, a minor sensation on both the genre and the regular film festival circle titled “Han Gong-ju”, Idol’s inclusion in the Panorama selection of this year’s Berlinale is completely justified, even though the film certainly has narrow limits regarding the exposure outside of its native South Korea and hard core genre circles.

Basically, it is a story about two fathers connecting by a hit-and-run accident involving their sons. The title character of sorts Koo Myung-hui (Han Seok-kyu of “Shiri” and “The Berlin File” fame) is a politician on the move, whose career prospects seem promising due to his respectable, honest and trustworthy public image. His son Johan is the supposed perpetrator,
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Film Review: Folklore: Mongdal (2018) by Lee Sang-woo

HBO Asia’s “Folklore” is a six-episode, hour-long series that takes place across six Asian countries – Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Each episode is based on a country’s deeply-rooted myths and folklore, featuring supernatural beings and occult beliefs. The respective episodes are helmed by a director from that country and filmed locally in the country’s primary language. In the particular segment, Lee Sang-woo deals with the myth of the Mongdal, a ghost that spawns when an unmarried man dies.

Folklore is available to Us subscribers on HBO Now®, HBO Go®, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms

The film revolves around a schoolboy who borders on being a sociopath and his mother, who is also the strict headmaster of the school he attends, that tries to appease him by granting all of his occasionally absurd wishes. His behaviour, though, becomes worse when a new girl arrives at school,
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

The Best Cinematography of 2018

The Best Cinematography of 2018
Cinematography is not a competition, nor is it a beauty contest, so boiling the years best work down to a simple ranking wasn’t an easy task. Often, the awards-season narrative for below-the-line talent is scale and the most obvious use of craft; here, the focus is how form can be used to elicit emotion and tell a story. These are 10 films that do that exceeding well. Afterwards a few additional prizes focused on films that opened doors and pointed to an exciting future of what is possible in the world of cinematography.

10. “Distant Constellation”

The setting for Shevaun Mizrahi’s documentary is a Turkish old age home, a worn institutional building that towers over a city being rebuilt below. Mizrahi, a one woman crew, transforms the building into an ethereal tower of winter light, which when joined with her elderly subjects’ memories has a haunting affect that lingers well after leaving the theater.
See full article at Indiewire »

Iffam Alumnus Richie Mehta Takes ‘Delhi Crime Story’ to Sundance

  • Variety
Iffam Alumnus Richie Mehta Takes ‘Delhi Crime Story’ to Sundance
“Delhi Crime Story,” a seven-part series by Indo-Canadian writer-director Richie Mehta (“Siddharth”) will have its world premiere at Sundance in early 2019.

Mehta was at the 2nd International Film Festival and Awards, Macao (Iffam), in 2017 with “The Price of Tea,” one of the three auteur projects at the Iffam project market that year. Set in Beijing, the film will follow a Canadian man who falls for a Chinese woman over the course of a magical day only to discover that she is not what she seems.

Several parts of “Delhi Crime Story” will play as part of Sundance’s Indie Episodic strand. Based on the 2012 rape case in Delhi that shocked the world, the series centers on the heroic actions of the Delhi police. With the eyes of the world upon it, the investigation is led by one passionate female officer who was driven to find the perpetrators by the crime’s extreme brutality.
See full article at Variety »

Top 5 East Asian Horror Films

1. One Cut of the Dead.

Uedo’s directorial debut, which cost approximately $27,000 to make, hit the 2 million admissions mark on 20th October 2018 and is still playing to packed houses both nationally and internationally. An inventive take on the zombie genre, “One Cut of the Dead” is also a self reflexive on the process of low-budget filmmaking offering the viewer an insight into independent cinema: directing (the making of the film); production, and exhibition (live broadcasting). The film begins with a 37-minute single take of a low-budget zombie film which is being screened live on national television before segueing into something unexpected. And it is these narrative and formal deviations that situate “One Cut of the Dead” as one of the most original contemporary zombie films refreshing a genre which has become largely cliché-ridden and derivative.

2. Mon Mon Mon Monsters

Taiwanese horror cinema has very much been in the ascendancy in
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Top 5 East Asian Gothic TV Programmes

1. The Guest

With its triangle of investigators, a Catholic Priest (Yoon Hwa Pyung), a Shaman (Choi Yoon) and a Police Detective (Kang Kil Yeong), “The Guest” can be best thought of as a loose spin-off of Na’s “The Wailing” (2015) even though the answers seem clearer cut in the former than the later. Like all good Gothic texts, the crisis in the present can be traced back to a trauma in the past at which the paths of the three intersect. As Bts tell us in “DNA” ‘this is not a coincidence’ (2017). In the present, an outbreak of violent crimes for no apparent reason bring the three together again as they search for the demon behind the outbreak whose capture would resolve their traumatic pasts. Much darker in its approach than many horror themed kdramas, “The Guest”’s tight scripting, clever casting and cinematography mark it out as a must see.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Busan Film Festival apologises to jury member Kunimura Jun after press conference criticism

Japanese actor said to be suffering ”extreme mental and emotional pain” after backlash his comments at Biff jury press conference.

Busan International Film Festival (Biff) officially apologised today to New Currents jury member Kunimura Jun after the Japanese actor was criticised in his country’s media for remarks he made at the jury press conference on October 5.

The veteran actor, whose credits include Godzilla Resurgence, Kill Bill Volume 1 and Outrage, is best known in Korea for his role as a demon in Na Hong-jin’s supernatural thriller The Wailing.

In recent weeks, Koreans had been protesting the Japanese navy’s
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Biff apologises to New Currents jury member Kunimura Jun

Japanese actor said to be suffering ”extreme mental and emotional pain” after backlash against his comments at Biff jury press conference.

Busan International Film Festival (Biff) officially apologised today to New Currents jury member Kunimura Jun after the Japanese actor was criticised in his country’s media for remarks he made at the jury press conference on October 5.

The veteran actor, whose credits include Godzilla Resurgence, Kill Bill Volume 1 and Outrage, is best known in Korea for his role as a demon in Na Hong-jin’s supernatural thriller The Wailing.

In recent weeks, Koreans had been protesting the Japanese navy
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Busan Jurors Discuss Parity at Lively Press Conference

  • Variety
Busan Jurors Discuss Parity at Lively Press Conference
Macedonian actor and producer Labina Mitevska has called for gender parity in film festival programming. Speaking at a press conference to introduce the Busan New Currents jury, juror Mitevska said, “When art is good, its good, no matter if it is male or female. We need to have more female programmers, most of them are men. Things need to change, and it needs to be fast.”

Mitevska is a co-producer on Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “The Wild Pear Tree”, which played at Cannes in competition and is Turkey’s entry in the Oscar foreign-language race. Speaking about the “macho Balkan culture,” Mitesvka recalled her experience working on a production 17 years ago where she and her sister, the writer/director Teona Strugar Mitevska, would return home in tears after every day of the shoot. She recounted how 20 men would stand around, ignoring Teona’s instructions on where to place the camera,
See full article at Variety »

Indiegogo Campaign Launched for New Book Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion And Worship In The Horror Film, Featuring a Foreword by Doug Bradley

  • DailyDead
The supernatural and the religious often become intertwined in battles for souls and psyches in horror cinema, and with the rising popularity of movies such as The Conjuring films and the enduring legacy of franchises like Hellraiser, House of Leaves Publishing is looking to bring the discussion of faith-based and worship-centric horror to the printed page in a new book called Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion and Worship in the Horror Film, which recently launched an Indiegogo campaign.

Edited by Rebecca Booth, Erin Thompson, and Rf Todd, Scared Sacred features a foreword by legendary actor and author Doug Bradley. Collecting essays from a wide range of authors and experts, Scared Sacred looks at religion in horror cinema through the lens of four key categories: Christianity, Mysticism, Occultism, and Beyond Belief. In these four sections, the book examines the impact and depiction of religion in an extensive list of horror films, including The Conjuring movies,
See full article at DailyDead »

Zhang Yimou's Action Epic Shadow Gets Early 2019 Release Date

  • MovieWeb
Zhang Yimou's Action Epic Shadow Gets Early 2019 Release Date
It was announced today that Well Go USA has acquired all North American, UK, and Australia/New Zealand rights to legendary filmmaker Zhang Yimou's Shadow in advance of its world premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. The film will have its North American premiere at a Gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival next week.

In Pei, a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander faces peril both inside and outside the palace walls. But he has a secret weapon: a "shadow", a look-alike who can fool both Pei's enemies and the King himself. In his obsessive quest for a long-sought victory over a rival kingdom, the commander must execute an intricate plan involving his wife, the Shadow, and the kings of both kingdoms, leading up to a stunning invasion unlike any seen before.

Indisputably one of cinema's great masters, Zhang is famous for his use of vibrant color,
See full article at MovieWeb »

Film News Roundup: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Producer Sk Global Hires Fox Exec Xian Li

  • Variety
In today’s film news roundup, a Fox veteran is hired by “Crazy Rich Asians” producer Sk Global, Garry Pastore will play Albert Anastasia, and Ed Wood’s “Take It Out in Trade” is getting a release.

Executive Hiring

Crazy Rich Asians” producer Sk Global and its Ivanhoe Pictures has hired Fox International Productions executive Xian Li as senior vice president of production.

Li will work alongside the executive teams of Ivanhoe Pictures and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and will be charged with enhancing and expanding the company’s slate of Asian-focused global film and TV projects.

“After focusing on Asia in the past years, I’m truly inspired by the fascinating creative talents and materials available, and how they differ from the current domestic creative landscape,” Li said. “The success of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a strong manifesto that the audience deserves to see more diverse content from Hollywood, and
See full article at Variety »

Sk Global appoints Xian Li production svp

Executive previously served as director, development and production at Fip.

Busy Sk Global, whose Ivanhoe Pictures label co-produced and co-financed the reigning North American box office champion Crazy Rich Asians, has hired film development and production executive Xian Li as senior vice president, production.

Li will work alongside the executive teams of Sk Global’s two labels, Ivanhoe Pictures and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, and will be charged with enhancing and expanding the slate of Asian-focused, globally minded film and TV projects.

“After focusing on Asia in the past years, I’m truly inspired by the fascinating creative talents and materials available,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Producer-Financier Sk Global Names Xian Li As Svp Production

  • Deadline
Sk Global and its Ivanhoe Pictures, fresh off co-producing and co-financing Warner Bros’ Crazy Rich Asians, has hired Xian Li as Svp Production. She had been Director, Development and Production at local-language producer Fox International Productions. In her new role, Li will work with the Sk Global labels Ivanhoe and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment with a focus on enhancing and expanding their slates of Asian-focused, globally minded film and TV projects.

Crazy Rich Asians, co-produced with Color Force, has been a hit at the box office, grossing $83.9 million worldwide since its August 15 release. It dipped just 6% in Week 2 in North America in repeating at No. 1 on the charts.

“Since the launch of Ivanhoe Pictures several years ago, it has always been our ambition to grow not only with local productions in international markets, but also to develop and produce local stories for a global audience,” Sk Global president John Penotti said.
See full article at Deadline »

'Ghoul' review: Some genuine scares, and a frightening insight into the future

NetflixIn this terrifying dystopian world divided by religion, Radhika Apte plays a convincing interrogation officer.Saraswati DatarWhat if a prisoner enters a frightening detention centre but ends up being scarier than anything or anyone its blood-soaked walls and floors have seen before? That’s the premise British filmmaker Patrick Graham set out with over four years ago when he first developed the concept of Ghoul. The second Netflix original from India, Ghoul is jointly produced by Blumhouse Productions, Ivanhoe Pictures and India's Phantom Films (Sacred Games). Set in a not so distant but definitely dystopian future, Ghoul establishes a country, presumably India, where cities are divided into religious zones. Nationalistic fervour is slowly morphing into a paranoid psychosis, and the lines between the protector and the persecutor have all but blurred. The government or the military power that rules this nation has laid down strict diktats which control every aspect of its citizen’s lives.
See full article at The News Minute »

Well Go USA acquires Cannes selection 'Burning'

Well Go USA acquires Cannes selection 'Burning'
Feature marks South Korean auteur Lee’s first film in eight years since Poetry.

Well Go USA has picked up North American rights to Lee Chang-dong’s acclaimed Cannes selection Burning.

The film earned the Fipresci Prize in Cannes and marks Lee’s first film in eight years after Poetry. It is produced by Pinehouse Film, Nhk and Now Film Co.

Japanese broadcaster Nhk invited Lee to adapt a short story by Murakami and he chose Barn Burning, about an alienated young man whose world is turned inside-out by the arrival of a spirited woman and her male trip companion.
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Cannes Winner ‘Burning’ Bought by Well Go for October Release (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Cannes Winner ‘Burning’ Bought by Well Go for October Release (Exclusive)
Well Go USA has acquired all North American rights to Lee Chang-dong’s Korean drama “Burning,” which won the Fipresci Prize last month at the Cannes Film Festival.

Well Go USA will release “Burning” to theaters across the nation beginning Oct. 26 in New York City, with expansion to follow throughout November. Based on a story by Haruki Murakami, “Burning” centers on an alienated young man, played by Ah-in Yoo as a frustrated introvert whose already difficult life is complicated by the appearance of two people into his orbit: a spirited young woman (Jong-seo Jun) who offers romantic possibility, and a wealthy young man (Steven Yeun of “The Walking Dead”) she returns from a trip with.

Art director Shin Jeom-hui won the Vulcan Award of the Technical Artist at Cannes, an independent prize given to the best technical artist in filming, editing, art, and sound.

Peter Debruge of Variety called the
See full article at Variety »

Film Review: ‘Believer’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘Believer’
Johnnie To’s gritty mainland crime epic “Drug War” (2012) is given a slick and mostly effective South Korean re-tooling in “Believer.” Centered on a dogged cop obsessed with flushing out a mysterious drug kingpin, this pacy outing is loaded with colorful characters but fails to deliver the emotional intensity it promises. The first feature by director and co-writer Lee Hae-young since his classy period thriller “The Silenced” (2015), “Believer” has notched two million admissions since its May 22 local release. An entertaining action-thriller accessible for non-Korean viewers, “Believer” ought to perform well when it opens June 8 on 23 North American screens.

Action-packed but free of the extreme brutality that sometimes hinders the commercial prospects of Korean genre films in offshore markets, “Believer” borrows just the basics of To’s film. While faithfully recreating some of the original’s most famous sequences, Lee and female co-writer Chung Seo-kyung have significantly altered plot and character details elsewhere.
See full article at Variety »
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