I was highly anticipating this film, not least the fact that it had two of my favourite Korean stars, the forever Korean classic Lee Na-young (I'm a HUGE FAN of her...would watch almost any film she is in, she is just one of THE most beautiful and stunning woman i've seen, and her roles are always good.) and Kang Dong-won (simply love his sleepy eyes and 'moody look').
I wasn't dissapointed and i was expecting to cry even before i watched the film given how i can kinda predict what kind of storylines are very likely to make me cry and this was definitely one of them.
The story, like many Korean films, is not particularly refreshing or remarkably innovative, but like most Korean films, they are just very good at doing what they do best, which is delving into the human and emotional side of life and tugging at your heart, manipulating your feelings so well that you just gotta cry...Basically, Kang is wrongly accused of raping and murdering two women and is on death row. A suicidal Lee, whom is a yesteryear star has attempted suicide several times already. She is filled with deep anger at herself, at the world, and it seems most of all, at her mother. After having tried to commit suicide but failed for the third time, she is asked by her aunt, a nun, to accompany her to her weekly visits to the high security prison for visiting death row inmates attempting to convert them to Christianity before they are put to death. At first, Lee is totally uninterested. But then slowly, and surely, she forms a kind of bond, a connection with Kang, as we learn the truth of his crime, Lee's past, and her source of anger, as well as the inevitable ending that we all know is coming.
Very thought-provoking film in that it deals with a man whom is afraid to die and wants so badly to live, to be given another chance in life, but whom is condemned to death, and a woman whom is so angry and whom has lost the will to live seeking only to end her life....You won't regret watching this film.
3. 200 Pound Beauty (2006)
This was a surprise huge box office hit in 2006 which catapulted the main actress, Kim Ah-Jung, to stardom. Its about this heavily overweight girl whom has a fantastic voice. However, due to her appearance, she can only hide backstage singing the songs of a hot sexy famous singer whom can't sing and has a real attitude problem. The overweight girl, Hana, is in love with the hunk producer, but dares not express her love due to her appearance. One day she overhears him telling the famous singer whom hates Hana that she should be happy she is not Hana and that they were just using her to get money. Hana was about to commit suicide but then a phone call arrives and she decides to get a complete makeover by going under the knife. This is a typical commercial flick with an average story but it somehow managed to capture the hearts of S.Korean movie-goers. I think it is successful as it brings out the insecurities women have about their looks, as well as is a reminder of the superficiality of beauty and society's obsession with it. I loved it!
I liked this film as it was a very emotional and intimate film about war. In fact, it really isn't even a 'war film' in the typical sense of the word. It was more an emotional epic about family, the extent to which one would sacrifice for family, for a brother, the love and brotherhood between two brothers and also, ultimately, the devastation that was wrought upon Korea and millions of Korean families during the Korean War. Very emotional film, cried at the very end even though i was telling myself not to, not to be such a cry baby...the scene of the older brother having bought the shoes and putting it in the wardrobe and then being found simply ignited my floodgates and i cried so hard it was like my own relative had died....haha..
This is actually an exception to all the films that i've listed here in that it is actually an average film with a poor ending and so-so storyline if it were not for one of the stories which was just soooo powerful and tugs at your heart so much that i would recommend you all to watch it if only for one of the stories in the film.
I've introduced this film before under my 'Nolstalgic Hong Kong Films Review' series so i will keep it short. Basically about three gay men in early 90s Hong Kong, their lives, loves, and tribulations. The only story that stands out and is to this day, out of the many gay themed films i've seen, still one of the most powerful gay stories i've ever seen on screen, is the story by Eric Kot, the flamboyant gay. He is rejected by his father for being gay, contracts AIDS and.....well, there is a really, and i mean really, emotional scene, after he learns he has HIV...although Eric Kot's character was not the main character, with Lau Ching Wan playing the main character, the HK Film Awards Jury were obviously as impressed and moved by his performance as a HIV positive gay man that they nominated him not for Best Supporting Actor but for Best Actor in 1994. Still one of the best gay-themed stories i've seen so far after all these yrs....you just have to ignore the other two stories:)
6. Hotel Rwanda (2005)
8. Like a Virgin (2006)
9. The Legendary Princesses (TV Drama- 2006)
This is actually a TV drama by KBS and its damn good!! Its freakin long, like 80 eps which means over 80 hours but it surprisingly manages to keep audiences glued to the tv box winning over 40% in audience ratings at its peak. (For ur reference, normally an average Korean drama gets around 20 to 30% and good ones b/w 30 to 40% but really big hits get over 40% in viewer rating.)
I actually cried TWICE throughout the drama, both times not bcos of love but due to the biggest key point (for me personally) which was its focus on the family and family relations, either between the parents and the 4 daughters, the relationship between the sisters, the daughters and their in-laws, the mother and her mother (the mother was such a role model figure for me, i just loved her fiesty protective attitude, not ur traditional quiet wife...and the scenes between the mother and her own mother proved to be one of the most touching ones in the whole series.
The story is set in the closing days of WW2 in Japan centering on an elder brother in his mid-teens and his younger sister and their aunt with her own children to look after. After their father is sent off to war and their mother dies in an American air-raid, the two siblings go to live with the aunt but not all goes well as the war situation worsens and increasing rations and air-raids, by 1945, accompany their lives and millions of other children and civilians in Japan.
I didn't cry in this film but i was close to tears...its THE best Japanese drama film i've seen so far and the Japanese in my eyes are so lame and crappy when it comes to love stories and tearjerkers that the fact that this film made me teary-eyed took me by surprise...