Posted in Korea, lists, Reviews, Uncategorized

10 must watch Korean movies

I come to you, extremely tired, from a PC room.
I made a promise to myself to keep blogging, so I put 10,000₩ (about £7) on my PC room membership. Although I am extremely tired, I owe it to myself (and you guys!) to keep blogging!

Please check out my list series here.

The list that I have decided to make today is, what I think are the 10 must watch Korean movies.
When I first became interested in Korean culture, it was actually movies that drew me in. Korean cinema has remained my favourite part of Korean media! So I have a lot of opinions on this category!
I will try to keep this post short, but I can’t promise! I will also try to involve all genres of film!

  1. Miracle in Cell No.7 (7번방의 선물, 2013)Drama/Comedy
    Drama/Comedy

    7번방의 선물.jpg

    This movie stars my favourite actress, Park Shin-hye (박신혜), as a lawyer for her mentally ill father who was imprisoned for murder. I don’t want to give away too much of this story, so I will not give you any more plot information. However, I will say that this film made me laugh and cry like a baby. Excellent acting, a great story line and emotion filled.

  2. Memories of Murder ( 살인의 추억, 2003)
    Drama/ Mystery

    Memories of Murder poster.jpg

    This is an older movie, maybe the oldest in my list. It is based on the true events of Korea’s first serial murders on record. The movie follows two detectives trying to solve the crimes. After watching this movie, I found myself looking for all information on Korea’s first serial murders. I also found myself watching other dramas and another movie (Confessions of Murder, 2012) based on the same serial murders. This is the best of the movies I watched. (Some of the dramas were great but I will make a post about that another time!)
    What captured me about this movie which was actually recommended to me by a friend, is that I didn’t know any of the actors, so I could focus on their acting skills. They were great actors and I think the movie is also well directed.
    If you like drama/crime/thriller/mystery movies, check this movie out!

  3. The Wailing (곡성, 2016)

    Drama/Romance

    The Wailing (film).png

    This movie was also recommended to me by another friend, and to be honest, I don’t know if I am thankful!
    Whenever I think about this movie I get scared. It is so disturbing. The first time I watched this movie, there were no English subtitles. At the time my Korean wasn’t the greatest, so I thought to myself, “what on earth is happening?!”…
    I watched it a second time, with English subtitles. I thought to myself, “what on earth is happening?!”…
    If you like horrors, this movie is for you.
    If you like thrillers, this movie is for you.
    If you like mysteries, this movie is for you.
    If you like movies like inception and the prestige this movie is for you.
    Watch this movie.
    (Plus, it stars one of my favourite actors, Hwang Jung-min (황정민)!!)

  4. Always (오직 그대만, 2011)
    Drama/Romance

    Always2011Poster.jpg

    This movie…
    I don’t really like romantic movies. They make me feel so lonely and I lose hope in love! But this movie, had such a gripping story line, I had to watch it. I am very glad that I did. Although, the tissues that were used that night probably don’t feel the same.
    I’ll just give you a short preview of the plot.
    The extremely handsome So Ji-sub (소지섭) is an ex-boxer.
    The beautiful Han Hyo-joo (한효주) is blind.
    Of course, they fall in love but it’s never easy in romantic movies.

  5. Spellbound (오싹한 연애, 2011)
    Comedy/ Romance/ Horror

    오싹한 연애에 대한 이미지 검색결과

    I thought that this movie was going to be a horror, but it was a comedy. It had a few jumpy scenes, but overall it is a funny movie! I also do not like comedies much, but this movie had me laughing!
    If you like horror comedies, this is a great movie for you!

  6. Memoir of a Murderer (살인자의 기억법, 2017) 
    Drama/Action

    memoirs of a murderer에 대한 이미지 검색결과

    This movie had me guessing the whole time! It has been a while since I have seen such a good thriller movie. Thriller is my favourite genre of movie. So, I have tried to watch as many thrillers as possible. This is one of the movies that I always think about when someone asks me for a recommendation.
    An interesting story of a serial killer who has Alzheimer’s disease.
    This movie is bound to keep you guessing about the truth.

    Based on the best-selling fiction book A Murderer’s Guide to Memorization by Kim Young-ha (김영하)

  7. Poetry (시, 2010)
    Drama/ Tragedy

    Poetry film poster.jpg

    I actually watched this movie when I was at home in London. I was shocked that there was a Korean movie available on Sky Movies, so I just decided to watch it.
    It was a great find.
    This movie is a tragedy.
    I think one of the things that I appreciate about Korean movies is that they are very good at showing emotions and making the audience feel sympathy for the actors.
    An elderly woman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, is raising her grandson.
    This movie shows what a grandma would do to protect her grandson, even if he does not deserve it.
    It is a controversial topic and while I do not agree with the grandma helping the grandson, it is a movie. I tried to watch this movie while focusing on a grandmothers love as apposed to protecting people who have done something wrong.
    A greatly tragic movie.

  8. The Chaser (추격자, 2008)
    Crime/ Thriller

    The Chaser film poster.jpg

    I’m not sure why, but I thought I wrote a blog on this movie. I didn’t.
    A great crime thriller movie which is inspired by Korean serial killer, Yoo Young-Chul (유영철). I had heard about this serial killer before I had watched the movie, but it didn’t connect until I had watched the movie and researched it after. (I know I do things a bit backwards.)
    While I was watching this movie, I found myself really hating the main character. The film has excellent acting! This movie also had me guessing what was going to happen next.
    If you like watching movies or documentaries based on true crime, you may find this movie interesting.

  9. Forgotten (기억의 밤, 2017)
    Mystery/ Thriller

    Recall the Night (기억의 밤).jpg

    I think you guys can tell by now, I really like thriller movies.
    I watched this movie because it popped up as a suggestion on my TV. While I was watching it, I thought I knew what the story line was…
    I was left shocked because it wasn’t what it seemed like.
    A great watch which is action packed from the start.

    I have saved my favourite movie for last, so I hope you are still with me!

  10. Hide and Seek (숨바꼭질, 2013)

    Mystery/ Thriller

    Hide and Seek (2013) poster.jpg

    I have watched this films multiple times. I never get bored of it!
    Every time I watch this movie, I am just so amazed at how good of an actress Moon Jeong-hee (문정희) is! She is amazing!
    This movie also had me wondering what was going on the whole time! This was one of the first Korean thrillers I had watched. It is still my favourite!
    I suggest everyone watches this movie and while you are watching, please pay attention!

Well, there you have it! My top 10 Korean movies.
Of course, there are many more movies that I would like to suggest to you guys! However, for today, I tried to do my favourite movies that I think have not been seen by many of my international friends and followers.

Who knows, maybe there will be a part 2!

Posted in Uncategorized

Going back to the start.

These past few weeks I’ve been wondering about what I can do to revive my blog. I was thinking about what things interest me and also things that I have written about in the past.

While I was going through some blogs made by people who are like me, foreign and living in Korea, I was thinking if I could do something like them.

The one that interested me the most was A fat girls guide. Hands down my favourite blog at the moment. I was wondering if I could do something like her blog and start blogging about food. But there is a big problem. Even though I am a fat girl, I don’t eat much. When I do eat, I have small portions and I can barely finish a burger unless I haven’t had anything to eat all day. It hurts because I love food. Also, I don’t have much time since I am always tired once I finish work and I just want to go home and sleep.

So, a food blog is out of the question.

I don’t really want to change my routine since I have almost no free time as it is. So I thought about what I like to do when I am at home, or what I can do when I am at home. This weekend was the first weekend in a long time where I spent a Saturday night at home with my fluffbaby Aurora. All we did was re-watch Lost.

Suddenly, just before I started writing this blog post, it hit me.

I enjoy watching dramas, series, soap operas and movies. I don’t think I’ve missed an episode of Home and Away since 2005… and none of you needed to know that.

I remembered that I used to write Korean drama and movie reviews. I wish that I was more of a music writer since I love music but I don’t have time to go to concerts, and nobody to go with me! *cries in silence*.

So… drum roll please…

I’m going to start writing drama and movie reviews again. I don’t know how long it will last for but at least for a while I am going to focus on reviewing. I’ve watched a thousand movies and a few dramas since I have been in Korea, therefore I AM SURE! Sure that I can keep this up and write blog posts regularly. It is becoming my mission to watch at least 2 movies a week and review them. And possibly 1 drama over 2 weeks… I bulk watch dramas.

I hope you guys are as excited as I am!

For those of you who have only been reading my blog since I created Kimchi Kebab, go and check out my original blog Dina Daily or by clicking the Review tab on the menu. There you can see the blogs that I used to do and the many reviews that I wrote.

I hope you guys are looking forward to the new posts!

 

Posted in Korea, Portfolio, Reviews, Uncategorized

Hollywood Films, Korean Actors?

This post does not mean to offend or upset anyone who is reading. This post is solely my opinion.

koreanwave

With the growing success of the Korean Wave, Korean artists such as Psy and BigBang are gaining more coverage and popularity in Western countries. But during my research in to my dissertation, I realised that the Korean Wave has been around before most of our favourite K-Pop groups and artists. The Korean Wave initially started with Korean Cinema.

Korean films gained popularity in Western countries in the early 2000’s. This lead to the rise in Korean actors wanting to be casts for Hollywood Movies. The increase in interest in Korean films made it possible for Korean actors to succeed in getting roles in Hollywood films. However, are they gaining recognition as being Korean?

sung kang

Last week I watched Fast & Furious 6. at the end of the film, it occurred to me that Sung Kang (Han in the films) is Korean. To be exact he is American Korean but what made me think was, in Fast & Furious 6 he is in China and of course he was in Japan in Tokyo Drift, but his character has never been stated to be Korean. In Fast & Furious, he actually has two names, Han Lue & Han Seoul-Oh. Obviously the later is a Korean name, but as the film does not mention that he is Korean, many people believe his character is Japanese. This made me realise that many Korean actors are cast in American films, but the characters they are cast for are very rarely Korean.

Now I know this isn’t important but it cropped up in my research for my dissertation. My dissertation was about how the Korean Wave has influenced adopted Koreans to connect with Korean culture. As the topic is under researched and specific, I needed to conduct in-depth interviews with adopted Koreans. One person I interviewed mentioned Korean actors in American films and this was really important.

To prove my point, listed below are a few examples of Korean actors in Hollywood films, being cast as non-Korean characters.

ninja-assassin_l1

Sung Kang – The Fast & The Furious series – Korean name but thought to be Japanese or in The Fast & The Furious 6 – Chinese
Rain – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Sung Kang again – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Randall Duk Kim – Ninja Assassin – Japanese
Lee Byung Hun (eek) – G.I. Joe – Japanese
Jong Dong Gun – The Warrior’s Way – Character name Yang – used by American directors when they don’t want to define the origin of Asian characters.
Leonardo Nam – The Fast & The Furious – Tokyo Drift – Japanese
Rick Yune – The Fast & The Furious (2001) – Vietnamese
James Kyson – TV Series Heroes – Japanese
Ken Jeong – The Hangover – Chinese
Bae Doona – Cloud Atlas – portrayed as 3 different characters with 3 different  ethnicities – Korean, Mexican and White (or possibly Mixed Race White & Black)
And many more.

Although my last example of Cloud Atlas is a bit more confusing.

However, as previously mentioned this post is not intended to offend anyone . I am not saying that Korean actors should only play Korean characters in Movies and TV shows, I just hope that American movie and TV shows can start to acknowledge Korea more in their films. There are, of course, films and TV shows such as Lost (starring Daniel Dae Kim & Kim Yun Jin), The Walking Dead (Starring Steven Yeun) and Film Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (John Cho as leading character Harold). But, during research for my dissertation, I spoke to adopted Koreans who, in their childhood and teen years, looked for Korean role models in Hollywood films and TV Shows. One adopted Korean I interviewed stated that he:

‘looked for Korean role models but whenever I saw an Asian guy in a movie, he tended to be Japanese or Chinese. I knew I was Korean so finding a role model was important for me to feel connected to my culture. When I grew up, I realised that Rain from Ninja Assassin was actually Korean, but his character was Japanese. I feel like the younger generation of adopted Koreans are probably doing the same thing I did but are having no luck. It’s strange how there are a lot of Korean actors in American films, but they aren’t playing Korean characters’.

But in the end, I am proud of all of the actors and actresses listed above and others who are breaking into Hollywood films. They are truly great actors and I wish them success in the rest of their careers. Hopefully with the growth of the Korean Wave, more Hollywood films and TV series will include Koreans as Koreans and acknowledge Korea more.

BACK ROW: ELIZABETH MITCHELL, DANIEL DAE KIM, DOMINIC MONAGHAN, JORGE GARCIA, MICHAEL EMERSON, HENRY IAN CUSICK, EMILIE DE RAVIN; FRONT ROW: YUNJIN KIM, MATTHEW FOX, JACK BENDER, CARLTON CUSE, DAMON LINDELOF, EVANGELINE LILLY, JOSH HOLLOWAY

Posted in Korea, Uncategorized

Missing Lee Byung Hun!

I work for a company on weekends. Most of the time I work from home as our lovely company has provided us with laptops so it is possible. However, every now and then we are asked to go into the office for training and meetings. One weekend we were told to go in to our lovely office which is located in Monument right next to London Bridge.

I know, what the hell has this got to do with Lee Byung Hun?

Well, on this day, there was a movie being filmed outside our office. I had no idea that the movie being filmed was, Red 2. The scene that was being filmed was an Asian man being shot.

doh1

This Asian man was Lee Byung Hun. I was 10 foot steps away from him!!! It only clicked in my mind this week when I finished watching the Korean drama Iris, in which Lee Byung Hun was the main character.

This weekend I was also in the office and it hurt so bad to know that I was in walking distance of such an amazing (and damn sexy) actor!! Lee Byung Hun is an inspiration for Koreans and people interested in Korean culture as he has had roles in a number of Hollywood movies, such as G.I. Joe, Red and Red 2. 

Anyway, I suppose it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t meant to meet Lee Byung Hun that weekend. =[ I hope they have to re-film a scene when I am in the office again! Haha! It’s wishful thinking but you never know!

eye-candy-lee-byung-hun-12Lee-Byung-Hun5-byung-hun-lee-21552839-320-480