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[Movie 2009] Private Eye 그림자살인

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Hwang Jung Min, Ryu Deok Hwan, Uhm Ji Won, Oh Dal Su

Constantly editing

Token of gratitude

MARCH 24, 2009 - THREAD STARTED BY HUANGSY CHANGED TO RUBIE

PRIVATE EYE 그림자살인

Nationwide release on April 2, 2009

Director

PARK DAE MIN

Cast

HWANG JUNG MIN as Hong Jin-ho / police-turned-private detective

RYU DEOK HWAN as Jang Gwang-su / medical student

UHM JI WON as Sun-deok / female inventor

OH DAL SU as Young-dal / Jongno police chief

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Official Website detective2009.co.kr

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May 1, 2008

Jeonju unveils studio and production incentives

Written by Han Sunhee

The Jeonju Film Commission has opened a new film studio in Jeonju city. Facility in the Western part of South Korea comes complete with various services and financial incentives intended to attract international as well as local production companies.

Jeonju Cinema Studio covers an area of 56,000㎡ (over half a million sq ft) including indoor and outdoor studios, with facilities that provide one-stop production system. Biggest sound stage covering 2,067m2, which with prop rooms, dressing rooms and AV facilities.

Though the country is not known for winning large numbers of footloose int'l movies, the JFC has devised a wide range of Cine Incentive Programs. These are intended to attract local production companies to shift production from the dominant Seoul and to a lesser extent Pusan.

Jeonju already boasts Korea's number two festival which starts today (May 1-9) and municipal authorities would like to see the film industry establish deeper roots in Jeonju city and Jeollabuk-do province. The program offers discounts on studio rental fees and various supports in-kind, which run from $30,000 to a maximum $80,000.

The first film to lense in Jeonju Cinema Studio is "A Frozen Flower", a historical drama by helmer Yoo-ha ("A Dirty Carnival".) Production got underway April 16. Pic depicts a triangular love affair of a king, his wife and a bodyguard.

JFC also announced that CJ Entertainment's newly unveiled project "The Aerialist" (working title) will be lensed at the studio's outdoor lot. Produced by Yoo Il-han of CJ Entertainment, pic tells a story of two men who follow a mysterious murder case which happened in Kyung-sung (old name of Seoul), right before the period of Japanese colonization.

Hwang Jung-min ("A Man who was Superman") and Ryu Duk-whan ("Like a Virgin") join the $5 million pic helmed by new scripter-director Park Dae-min. Hwang plays a private detective who just wants to earn money and go to U.S., while Ryu portrays a medical student who is wrongly accused of a murderer.

The production team will recreate the street of old Seoul with the JFC will provide support in kind worth $30,000 including antique props. Pic will be released later this year by distributor CJ Entertainment.

Source: Variety Asia

June 24, 2008

Jeong-min Hwang set to star in "Gongjung Gokyesa"

Posted by luna6

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One of the best actors working in Korea today, Jeong-min Hwang, is working on his next picture titled “Gongjung Gokyesa” (literal translation Air Acrobat). The film will co-star actor Deok-hwan Ryu (Our Town/Like A Virgin) and actress Ji-won Uhm (Traces of Love/Scarlet Letter). “Gongjung Gokyesa” will also feature acting vets Dal-su Oh and Je-mun Yun in supporting roles. The film is also directed by first time director Dae-min Park (having previously directed two short films).

In “Gongjung Gokyesa” Jeong-min Hwang plays Jin-ho Hong, the first Private Investigator of the Joseon era. Jin-ho Hong is noted for his uncanny intuition and also very high price tag. Playing Jin-ho Hong’s sidekick is medical student Kwang-su Jang (Deok-hwan Ryu). Actress Ji-won Eom will play Madame Deok-sun, a married lady of virtue who also secretly works as an inventor. The movie is reported to be a unique period piece / detective thriller.

“Gongjung Gokyesa” has started filming and should be released by the first half of 2009.

Source: lunapark6.com

:excl: Please be familiar of the FORUM RULES

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Private Eye / Shadow Murders from CINE21

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Captures credit: CINE21

February 26, 2009

Hwang Jeong-min as the Korean 'Holmes'

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Award-winning actor Hwang Jeong-min will star as seedy a private detective in the upcoming "Shadow Murders."

The film's early April release was announced at a press conference yesterday at the Apgujeong CGV Multiplex in Seoul. In it, Hwang's character Hong Jin-ho becomes entangled in a web of serial killings.

The film also stars newcomer Ryu Deok-hwan as Jang Gwang-soo, a medical student who assists Hong in much the way Arthur Hastings did Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's mystery novels.

Statuesque actress Eom Ji-won rounds out the starring roles of the film as Soon Deok, an inventor who provides Hong with the investigative tools needed to solve the murders. "I wanted to make a fun mystery yarn with a quirky private detective character in the same vein as Sherlock Holmes, which had never been portrayed in feature films in Korea," said director Park Dae-min.

"Shadow Murders" is Park's first film, and his entry into the industry came after his script for the film won the 7th annual Makdong Screenwriting Contest in 2005.

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Set during the Joseon period at the turn-of-the-century, the film follows Hong's exploits as he struggles to make a living selling incriminating photographs of high-profile government officials and affluent figures engaged in scandalous activities. When Jang seeks his help in solving the murder of a local magistrate's son, the two find themselves drawn deep into the opium underworld.

"My character may come across as somewhat of a money-grubbing simpleton, but he has a lot of inner pain that he hides through this sort of resigned tomfoolery and indifference," Hwang said. "But the more he becomes involved in the mysterious killings, the more emotionally involved he becomes throughout the film."

Hwang is known as an actor's actor who immerses himself in his roles in both film and theater. The 38-year-old has tackled versatile roles from murderous sociopaths ("Bittersweet Life"), to romantic leads ("You are My Sunshine") to hardened tough guys ("Bloody Tie").

Despite his a lengthy resume and cabinet full of Korea's top acting awards, the 21-year-old Ryu said Hwang is "very thoughtful and considerate of younger actors just coming up. "He really put me at ease on the set during both rehearsals and shooting because he knew I would be nervous and intimidated, Ryu said.

"So instead of telling me how to do things, he asked me how I wanted to approach our scenes together and if he had a different take, he would suggest something else. I really admire that way of guiding younger actors -- I learned a lot from him throughout the shoot."

Hwang, who did most of his own stunts for the film, may also have taught his young costar something through example. "During the rickshaw chase sequence, the carriage became very unstable and I fell off of it and got banged up a bit," Hwang said. "What's funny and embarrassing is that I told Deok-hwan to be careful before shooting took place for that sequence and I ended up being the one getting hurt. "Getting hurt during action sequences is always a possibility," he added. "It comes with the territory."

The film is part detective procedural and part who-done-it, Park said, citing American films such as Curtis Hanson's "L.A. Confidential" and Roman Polansky's noir masterpiece "Chinatown" as films that inspired him during production.

The film opens nationwide April 2.

By Song Woong-ki (kws@heraldm.com) via koreaherald.co.kr

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March 15, 2009

Korean films to stage counterattack in April

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After a brief lull of Korean films this month, several new movies are lined up for April, including the much-hyped thriller "Private Eye" and the comic drama "Why Did You Come To My House?"

A heated rivalry is anticipated as seven Korean movies are scheduled for release, with three hitting theaters on the same day.

"Private Eye" will open in theaters on April 2. The movie features award-winning actor Hwang Jung-min as a detective chasing a murderer played by Ryu Deok-hwan during the Japanese colonial period.

Opening April 9 is "Why Did You Come to My House?" a film about a mysterious girl, played by Kang Hye-jeong, who forces herself into the home of a man, played by Park Hee-soon, who is addicted to attempting suicide.

On April 23, the comic action fare "Level 7 Bureaucrat" will be released, starring Kim Ha-neul and Kang Ji-hwan as special agents of the National Intelligence Service.

One of the most anticipated films in April is the independent "Breathless," directed by Yang Ik-june, who has already turned heads at various international movie festivals.

The most heated opening day is April 30, when three movies are scheduled to join the competition. Among the contenders is "Wandering Mr. Kim," directed by Lee Hae-jun. The film stars singer-turned-actress Jung Ryu-won and Jeong Jae-young, and is about a man who starts living on a deserted island on the Han River after a failed suicide attempt by jumping off a bridge.

Critically acclaimed director Park Chan-wook returns from the with "Thirst" after a three-year-hiatus after his box-office flop "I'm A Cyborg But That's OK." Park's new movie involves a well-respected priest (Song Kang-ho) who is turned into a vampire and falls in love with a friend's wife.

Another is "Insadong Scandal," starring Kim Rae-won and Uhm Jung-hwa, who play characters involved in a mystery surrounding the Joseon Dynasty painter An Gyeon's masterpiece "Byeokando."

Other movies that have not settled on an opening date but are likely to be released before the end of next month are director Hong Sang-soo's "You Don't Even Know" (working title) and director Jeon Soo-il's "Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells," also known as "With a Girl of Himalaya."

The crowded release schedule for April results from production companies' decision to skip the so-called "slack season" of March and avoid May and June, which is when major Hollywood blockbusters are scheduled to land here.

By Lee-Joo-hee (angiely@heraldm.com) via koreaherald.co.kr

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March 24, 2009

Movie Review

Epic film noir rich in period detail

By Shin Hae-in

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- The last thing a murder mystery is expected to do is give away the culprit in its title: a rule "Private Eye (Geulimjasalin)" chooses to completely ignore.

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With the Korean title meaning "shadow killing," the film gives much away from the very beginning. Yet it is a gripping epic even if the mystery is less than well-concealed, and the story remains captivating throughout.

Set in the late Joseon Dynasty period of 1910 just before the Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula, the film is rich in period detail, with a solid scenario and skillful acting more than compensating for any lack of suspense of the culprit's identity.

Gwang-su (Ryu Deok-hwan), an ambitious physician in training under a Japanese mentor, discovers a corpse in the woods and takes it home to conduct an autopsy. Discovering that the body is the son of one of the Dynasty's most powerful men, the young doctor-to-be is worried that he may be wrongly charged with murder and entreats Jin-ho (Hwang Jeong-min), a police-turned-private detective, to solve the murder case.

Superbly paired and matching intuition with reasoning, Jin-ho and Gwang-su launch a dangerous investigation, stumbling upon another murder, and authorities who seem strangely reluctant to find the real killer. However instead of building up the suspense around the culprit, "Private Eye" chooses to reveal the killer's face early in the film. It remains highly compelling, however, to watch the flamboyant detective and the timid trainee physician build up a sense of responsibility in solving the case, which exposes the twisted desires of high-ranking officials and young girls victimized by them.

"The last thing I wanted was a brain-racking plot," director and playwright of the film Park Dae-min told audiences at the preview Monday. "I wanted to create something simple and easy enough for audiences to follow, while being captivated by it all the while."

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With the scenario winning the Makdongi Scenario Contest in 2005 -- one of the most acclaimed scenario contests in Korea -- "Private Eye" received attention from movie critics long before its crank-up.

The film undeniably benefits from seasoned acting by award-winning actor Hwang Jeong-min of "You're My Sunshine" and Ryu Deok-hwan, who brilliantly supports Hwang's staunch character in a refined, boyish kind of way. "The two paired off excellently," director Park said. "The movie became more lively and fun because there were two, not one, solving the case."

The movie takes advantage of the period it's set in, as it fuses noir thriller tropes with contemporary action styles in a potent brew. The streets of Gyeongseong, the ancient capital of Korea, are fresh to the viewers' eyes as the film ignores historical factors and creates sets mixing gothic, baroque and renaissance architectural styles.

To tag this film simply as a "Korean film noir" doesn't seem to do it justice; audiences will discover not only dead bodies, gangsters and suspense, but comical twists and a historical quest in it.

The movie, with a running time of 111 minutes, will hit local theaters April 2.

Credits: hayney@yna.co.kr via yonhapnews.co.kr

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March 24, 2009

[movie REVIEW] Hwang convincing in detective role

"Private Eye," written and directed by Park Dae-min, tackles a genre not particularly favored by Korean audiences, but achieves dramatic tension thanks largely to a well-crafted lead role.

The film -- based on debut director Park's script which won the 2005 Makdoongyi Screenplay Contest -- centers on Jin-ho (Hwang Jung-min), a private eye who deals mostly with trivial cases. It is set in Seoul in 1910, while Korea is under Japanese colonial rule.

Jin-ho's routine is disrupted when he gets dragged into a high-profile murder case. The case comes from a budding physician Gwang-soo (Ryu Deok-hwan), who stumbles upon an abandoned corpse in a field. The corpse turns out to be the son of a powerful Joseon politician, and the duo set out to find out the mysterious murderer.

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'Private Eye'

Once the whodunit gets going, two intriguing characters are thrown in. First is female inventor Sun-deok (Um Ji-won), whose identity remains largely cloaked behind the countless gadgets she produces in her secret laboratory. Following the conventions of a typical detective film, she supplies a handful of gizmos to private eye Jin-ho.

Another supporting character to note is Young-dal (Oh Dal-su), a Jongno police chief who follows the same murder case, seeking fame and wealth. Young-dal's gentle smile, however, cannot be taken at face value. For the first half of the film, the plot progresses slowly. Instead, director Park focuses on building up a cinematic chemistry between Jin-ho and Gwang-soo -- and rightly so.

Award-winning actor Hwang Jung-min puts in a smooth performance as Jin-ho, as if he were born to be a private detective yearning for a way out of his gloomy reality. His overall body language is also fairly natural, demonstrating his talent in embracing his role to the full.

Ryu Deok-hwan's Gwang-soo is fleshed out equally faithfully. Ryu, an up-and-coming actor, brings to life a likable and bubbly sidekick, who often accentuates the detective character's stylish posturing. The duo's lighthearted moments, however, are not frequent enough to compensate the dark mood that underlies the main plot. The film is for 15-year-olds or older but the subject matter seems to go beyond the rating. Moreover, some audiences are likely to find a couple of climatic scenes unpleasant.

Luckily, "Private Eye" relies heavily on the charm of Hwang Jung-min to get the story rolling and hide the key puzzle until the last moment -- a decision by the director that pays off eventually.

But the question remains. Given Hwang's undisputed talent, he might have pulled off an attractive postmodern detective character if the story was set in modern-day Seoul. "Private Eye" is part of a series of Korean films that taps into the country's early 20th century, when today's Seoul was called Gyeongseong. Last year, saw several period films, including "Once Upon a Time," "Radio Days," "Modern Boy" and "The Good, The Bad, The Weird," with limited success.

"Private Eye," produced and distributed by CJ Entertainment, will open in local theaters on April 2.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com) via koreaherald.co.kr

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March 23 CGV Seoul - 'Private Eye' Press screening & conference

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Captures from various media sources via daum.net

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March 26, 2009

Korean Films to Return in April

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter

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Top to Bottom, clockwise: Private Eye, Why Did You Come to My House, Breathless, Insadong Scandal,

Thirst, My Girlfriend Isn't An Agent

South Korean cinema offers only a handful of releases this month, but a big lineup of homegrown films awaits moviegoers in April. Some 10 domestic titles are slated for release next month, of which a majority are mainstream franchises that will play in theaters nationwide.

Leading the pack is "Private Eye," coming to screens April 2, starring Hwang Jung-min as a private detective and Ryu Deok-hwan as a young medical trainee who try to solve a serial murder case during the Japanese colonial era (1910-45). A special preview of the film with English subtitles is taking place at 7 p.m. tonight at CINUS Myeongdong Theater. The subtitled film will be available on the official release date at the venue, as well as CINUS Gangnam.

A week later, Gang Hye-jung, the charming heroine of "Welcome to Dongmakgol," will return to the big screen opposite Park Heui-soon ("Seven Days") in "Urijibe Wae Watni (Why Did You Come to My House?)," a quirky tale about a bizarre young woman who interrupts the suicide attempt of a frustrated man.

Yang Ik-june's "Breathless," which recently made headlines by winning a series of awards at European festivals, will be released April 16. It's expected to continue the renaissance of independent cinema here, following the hit movie "Old Partner."

On April 23, Kim Ha-neul and Kang Ji-hwan will star as secret agents tangled up in a comical love affair in "My Girlfriend Isn't an Agent" (working title).

April 30 will have a big showdown for Korean films, with the simultaneous release of celebrated director Park Chan-wook's provocative vampire story "Thirst," starring award-winning actor Song Kang-ho and starlet Kim Ok-vin; "Insadong Scandal" (working title), a conspiracy story involving the local art scene with heartthrob Kim Rae-won and sex symbol Uhm Jung-hwa; and "Gimssipyoryugi (Adventures of Mr. Kim)," a comedy in which an unlikely pair, Chung Yeo-won and Jung Jae-young, end up stranded on a desert island.

All three franchises feature big stars and unique storylines and are backed by some of the country's major producers and distributors. Several other indie flicks also await release in select theaters. The mass release of Korean films in April can be seen as a result of avoiding the months of March, which is usually a slack time for cinema, and May and June, when Hollywood blockbusters start rolling in.

But the high competition, with additional rivalry from highly anticipated foreign films due in April, is not always in the best interest of local ticket sales, according to some film marketers. In February, three homegrown thrillers, "Marine Boy," "The Scam" and "Handphone" were released at one-week intervals, and while each received positive feedback, ticket sales were split among the three and none marked a big hit.

"The lineup of foreign films waiting to be shown in April is pretty tough, and it's a big worry that all these Korean movies will be released around the same time,'' said one marketer for a domestic film awaiting release next month.

International Releases

Three Korean films, with support from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), will soon be available to international audiences, the council announced Wednesday.

Yoo Ha's "A Frozen Flower," starring heartthrobs Zo In-sung and Joo Jin-mo, premieres Friday in Taiwanese theaters. Infinity International secured the distribution rights for sexually charged historical epic.

Eleven Arts acquired the American distribution rights for Noh Young-seok's "Daytime Drinking," which is tentatively scheduled to enter U.S. cinemas April 10. The humorous indie flick revolves around an unfortunate man who is dumped by his girlfriend, stood up by his friends and victimized by the Korean drinking culture.

Belgian Cineart pursued the rights to screen Na Hong-jin's gritty thriller "The Chaser." Belgians will be able to view last year's multi-award winning film beginning April 22. The film recently won Best Action Asian Film Award from France's Deauville International Film Festival.

Credits: hyowlee@www.koreatimes.co.kr

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March 27, 2009

'Private Eye' Signals New Detective Genre

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter

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Hwang Jung-min, left, stars in "Private Eye," which will open in local theaters on April 2

Debutant director Park Dae-min brings a delicious mix of drama, comedy and adventure in "Private Eye," which, moreover, paints rosy prospects for South Korean cinema as it signals the potential of homegrown detective films.

Set against the Japanese colonial period (1910-45), the movie invites viewers to hop on coolie-drawn carts and join an accidental Sherlock Holmes (Hwang Jung-min) in tracking down a serial killer on the loose.

If 2007's "Shadows in the Palace" hinted at the possibility for an Agatha Christie-style suspense, "Private Eye" promises something more solid, and perhaps even a serial franchise. It keeps things smart and intriguing rather than mind boggling or cryptic, and leads the audience half a step ahead in the cat and mouse game. The movie also manages to be entertaining without being too light as it gives birth to a detective with character.

Hwang plays Hong Jin-ho, one of those amiable rude people, whose successful survival is more a factor of luck than skill. He's nevertheless a detective who is well equipped for the job, with his sixth sense for investigation ― but he keeps far away from dangerous cases that might spoil his hand-pressed suit and white hat. Instead, he pockets money by catching cheating housewives and other small matters that decorate tabloids _ in order to manifest the great American Dream in a country with a larger population and thus more adulterers and more income.

The "Happiness" star brings yet another unforgettable character, and the film actually allows the actor's immense talents to fully sparkle ― as if to make up for how "A Man Who Was Superman's" narrative flaws eclipsed the endearing persona Hwang pulled off, and how the suspense factor got lost in the gooey gore of "Black House."

Rising actor Ryu Deok-hwan ("Our Town") melts into his role, somewhat reminding you of a young Park Hae-il, as Jin-ho's unlikely sidekick Gwang-soo. The enthusiastic medical intern finds an abandoned corpse in the woods that would be perfect for dissecting, but his lucky day turns into a nightmare when the dead man turns out to be the missing son of a powerful politician.

Afraid of being accused of murder, Gwang-soo seeks the help of Jin-ho. Our dandy personal investigator refuses, naturally, but is eventually won over by the hefty cash reward. The two are forced to team up and solve the puzzle with a couple of clues found at the murder site, a small pack of white powder and a mysterious Japanese "karakuri" doll.

As the two explore odd corners of old Seoul, the viewer is taken from secret drug rings to exotic Joseon-era circus shows during a time when slaves cost less than cattle. The artist of last year's hit "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" provides exquisite period details.

Despite their initial bickering, intuitive Jin-ho and brainy Gwang-soo become a productive pair. Meanwhile, Um Ji-won makes a small but memorable appearance as Sun-deok, a quiet noblewoman by day and quirky inventor by night who provides C.S.I.-worthy tips and nifty gadgets for the case.

Shortly thereafter, another important social figure is killed and discarded in the same manner. Here, the movie lets the viewer know whodunit, and the task at hand is to figure out the tantalizing why bit. The police, led by ambitious social climber Young-dal (played by yet another talented actor, Oh Dal-su), are eager to close the case by framing an innocent man. Jin-ho and Gwang-soo, however, discover crucial evidence that leads to astonishing secrets.

English subtitles will be available at CINUS Myeongdong and Gangnam. The movie will be released nationwide April 2. 15 and over. Distributed by CJ Entertainment.

Credits: hyowlee@koreatimes.co.kr

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PRIVATE EYE Opens at #1!

z_FILMSTRI.gifWeekly Box Office 2009.04.03 ~ 2009.04.05 3-day Gross/Total Gross (won)

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Private Eye / Shadow Murder (image from Newsis / daum.net)

1. Private Eye / Shadow Kill /Shadow Murder (South Korea) 1,559,945,000 / 2,081,254,500

2. Fast & Furious (U.S.) 671,732,000 / 870,962,000

3. Slumdog Millionaire (U.S.) 495,998,500 / 5,057,907,500

4. The Reader (U.K.) 297,576,000 / 1,830,638,500

5. Bride Wars (U.S.) 181,259,000 / 246,328,500

6. Confessions of a Shopaholic (U.S.) 184,787,000 / 1,538,084,500

7. Push (U.S.) 155,101,000 / 4,326,375,500

8. Missing (South Korea) 155,189,500 / 3,741,561,500

9. Chaos (U.S.) 91,732,000 / 1,138,743,500

10. A Sad Story Than Sadness (South Korea) 55,360,500 / 4,640,789,500

Source: KOFIC

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Beware spoiler of a not-so-good mixed review from Twitch

April 5, 2009

[Korean Film Review] Private Eye (그림자 살인, 2009)

Posted by Jon Pais at 1:57am

On paper at least, Private Eye (literally, Shadow Murder) looks mildly promising, as the film boasts a collection of talented actors, including Ryoo Deok-hwan (Like a Virgin), Hwang Jeong-min (Black House) and Oh Dal-soo, and the period atmosphere (1910 colonial Korea) was created by the same person responsible for the wonderful sets used in The Good, the Bad and the Weird. And, just as Kim Ji-woon’s kimchi western provided a badly needed respite from Chungmuro’s endless stream of costume dramas, gangster films and adolescent comedies, a Chosun gumshoe yarn would be a welcome breath of fresh air for Korea’s ailing film industry. However, if Park Dae-min’s debut was supposed to signal the birth of the detective genre in Korean cinema, it was unquestionably a misfire, saddled as it is with stale humor, weak suspense, and a paper-thin plot that takes an out-of-left-field twist at the end that seems utterly inappropriate.

Hwang plays a detective (Jin-ho) who earns a living snooping on adulterers and selling his pictures to tabloids. His sole ambition is to go to the States, where he hopes to find even more opportunities (though this idea is never developed any further). Ryoo here wastes his talent, portraying a timid medical intern (Kwang-su) to a prominent Japanese physician (played by Kim Eung-soo) who cares less for his patients than about money. Oh Dal-soo is cast as the Japanese chief-of-police.

One night, Kwang-su comes across the body of a murder victim in the woods and brings it back to his home to hone his surgical skills, not realizing that the victim is the son of a powerful government official. When the hapless intern discovers his mistake, he turns to Jin-ho to find the murderer—though just how this will exonerate him is unclear, as are many similarly puzzling holes in the threadbare plot. On their way back from the scene of the crime, Jin-ho and Kwang-su are followed back to town by the killer, and a chase scene ensues, with disagreeably choppy-looking camerawork that cannot disguise the nonsensical roof-jumping sequence that follows.

Jin-ho just happens to have an aristocratic friend who doubles as a chemist and optician, and who supplies him with his spy camera and other tools of the trade. Evidence found on the corpse of yet another victim leads Jin-ho to a ruthless circus ringmaster and knife thrower (Yoon Je-moon), who has an unsavory business relationship with the local chief-of- police. Jin-ho’s search for the murder weapon leads him to volunteer for the knife-throwing act, a stunt guaranteed to please filmgoers, though we are never shown how he made off with one of the daggers under the watchful eyes of the killer and hundreds of spectators. When a young trapeze artist is seriously injured, Kwang-su rushes her back to the hospital, but the head physician refuses to treat her for lack of money. In what is apparently intended to be a dramatic high-point of the movie, the young intern defiantly challenges his superior, saying he’ll treat her himself, at which point the story goes off in another direction and no more is heard of the young lady or any repercussions for having confronted the head surgeon.

Korean films are notorious for mixing up genres, and when it works, the results can be quite devastating. But when it doesn’t, as in this film, it just ends up being a confusing mess. Up until the moment we discover the “shocking truth” about the killer and his victims, the picture has been a rather light-hearted (if altogether unenjoyable) romp, though a few chuckles could be heard from some schoolgirls seated at the back of the theater. When the facts about an organized crime ring emerge in the final minutes of the film, it appears wholly incongruous with everything that has preceded it. The ending leaves room for a sequel, a door which we fervently wish won’t be opened.

Source: twitchfilm.net

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Private Eye (2009): quick impression

4th April 2009

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I had a chance to watch Private Eye today and thought I would give a quick review. This will be spoiler free as it has just opened in theaters and won’t be released on DVD for at least five or six months. Firstly, the acting is fantastic which is something that we have come to expect from Hwang Jeong-min. Ryu Deok-hwan is also excellent. Uhm Ji-won does what she can with her charater (but more on her in a minute). The film gives us an interesting mystery with some comedy added in the right places but not so much that it is a distraction from the seriousness of the main story. The plot is good but italso made me glad that I had recently seen The Secret of Troupe 77. Although they are not the same story they share quite a few similarities in the subplots and I have little doubt that they were both inspired by the same source material. There was also a nice tip of the hat to Hitchcock’s Rear Window near the end.

I did deduct some points for the final scene…was it really necessary? And the climatic battle at the end seemed to go on just a little too long. The movie would have benefited from a little more editting. I also took a few points off for Uhm Ji-won’s character. It seems that every period piece made since The Dualist, whether it be drama or movie, has had a woman who acts competely outside the norms of that time. I realize that a strong female character is necessary, but can’t it be done within a historical context?

So I give the movie 31/2 stars out of five. Great acting, good story but a little too long.

Credits to Seen in Jeonju

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:w00t:Private Eye at #1 second week at the Box-office! :w00t:

April 13, 2009

S. Korean thriller tops 1 million in ticket sales

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- Ticket sales for "Private Eye (Geulimjasalin)" topped the 1 million mark over the weekend, the first film of the month to reach the critical milestone, a local box office report said Monday.

The murder mystery, starring award winning actor Hwang Jung-min, drew in 1.06 million viewers as of Sunday, 11 days after it first hit local theatres, the Korean Film Council said. One million is considered the yardstick for a box office hit here.Set in the late 19th century in the waning days of the Joseon Dynasty, the film has garnered praise from critics for its rich period detail, solid script and skillful acting.

Hollywood action "The Fast and Furious 2009" was the weekend's second most popular movie, topping 457,000 in ticket sales. The commercial success of "Private Eye" was welcomed by domestic filmmakers struggling against an economic slump and a deluge of Hollywood blockbusters to be released this year.

South Korean movies saw their worst sales figures in eight years in 2008, which fell by more than 20 percent from the previous year. Only eight films topped the 2 million mark in ticket sales last year compared to 16 in 2006 and 10 in 2007.

Credits: hayney@yna.co.kr via yonhapnews.co.kr

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April 13, 2009

'Private Eye' surpasses 1 million ticket mark

"Private Eye," a Korean film featuring Hwang Jung-min, topped the box office for the second week in a row, signaling a welcome development for the slump-laden domestic movie industry.

"Private Eye" drew some 300,000 viewers on the weekend alone and the total figure surpassed the 1 million mark, according to the Korean Film Council data. The film, released on April 2, centers on a private investigator who gets dragged into a high-profile murder case set in Seoul in 1910, while Korea is under Japanese colonial rule.

Hwang Jung-min, an award-winning actor, plays the title role with passion, helping the relatively unfamiliar genre movie succeed at the box office. The film, based on the debut director's script, won the 2005 Makdoongyi Screenplay Contest, and Hwang's character Jin-ho sets out to solve a murder case along with a budding physician Gwang-soo (Ryu Deok-hwan), who stumbles upon an abandoned corpse in a field.

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A handful of Korean films tapped into the country's early 20th century to tepid reactions, but "Private Eye" is attracting more than 50,000 viewers on a weekday, suggesting that the 2 million mark will be achieved soon. The impressive performance of "Private Eye" is a long-awaited change for the Korean film industry beleaguered by declining profits and fewer projects amid the protracted economic downturn.

Last month, neither Korean nor foreign films attracted 1 million viewers. According to CJ CGV, a multiplex operator, theaters sold a total of 7.84 million tickets nationwide in March, down 17.8 percent from the year-earlier period. The Seoul metropolitan area drew in just 2.76 million moviegoers, the lowest level in four years.

"Old Partner," a Korean documentary, performed well in March but other movies, both domestic and foreign, tanked at the box office. Even "Watchmen," a Hollywood blockbuster, failed to pull off a success, selling just 580,000 tickets last month. The market share of Korean movies also slumped 8.4 percent on year to 37.9 percent.

But things are beginning to improve this month as "Private Eye" offers a fresh impetus to the industry and top-rated Korean filmmakers such as Park Chan-wook are set to return to the silver-screen battlefield.

Director Park's new film "Thirst" is scheduled to be released nationwide on April 30, a much-awaited date for his enthusiastic fans at home and abroad, as well as Korean theater operators.

"Thirst" tackles a traditionally Western subject of a vampire, but Park earlier expressed his confidence about the artistic and commercial appeal of the film. Park devoted an unprecedented amount of time and energy to the project in the past decade, and he also pulled off an investment and distribution partnership with Universal Pictures International, marking the first deal of its kind for a Korean film.

Another major factor to watch is Song Kang-ho, who plays a priest-turned-vampire in "Thirst." Song is widely regarded as one of the top Korean actors with strong mass appeal.

Together with Park's "Thirst," Korean moviegoers are also elated about the return of director Bong Joon-ho, renowned for hit film "The Host." Veteran actress Kim Hye-ja and Korean Wave star Won Bin will star in Bong's new film titled "Mother," a tale about a mother struggling to clear a false murder charge against her son.

Thanks to director Bong's international fame and Won Bin's popularity, "Mother" is attracting keen interest from foreign media as well. Local audiences are also interested in Kim Hye-ja's return to the big screen 10 years after she played a mother figure in "Mayonnaise."

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com) via koreaherald.co.kr

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z_FILMSTRI.gifWeekly Box Office 2009.04.10 ~ 2009.04.12 3-day Gross/Total Gross (won)

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Private Eye / Shadow Murder (image from daum.net)

1. Shadow Kill / Private Eye (South Korea) 2,072,053,000 / 7,069,765,000

2. Fast & Furious (U.S.) 931,651,500 / 3,060,868,675

3. My Home (South Korea) 577,630,000 / 677,179,500

4. Slumdog Millionaire (U.S.) 485,754,500 / 6,368,500,000

5. SUSPECT X (Japan) 302,741,500 / 348,346,500

6. New in Town (U.S.) 255,886,000 / 307,900,000

7. The Reader (U.K.) 240,070,500 / 2,580,404,500

8. The Uninvited (U.S.) 171,647,500 / 200,115,500

9. Confessions of a Shopaholic (U.S.) 132,383,000 / 1,984,787,500

10. Missing (South Korea) 118,275,500 / 4,152,246,500

Source: KOFIC

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:w00t: Private Eye down to #2 on the third week but still the top Korean movie at the box-office, Fighting! :w00t:

z_FILMSTRI.gifWeekly Box Office 2009.04.17 ~ 2009.04.19 3-day Gross/Total Gross (won)

1. Knowing (U.S.) 2,049,940,000 / 2,586,114,500

2. Shadow Kill / Private Eye (South Korea) 1,271,397,500 / 9,870,752,000

3. Banlieue 13 - Ultimatum (France) 1,032,032,000 / 1,209,388,175

4. Fast & Furious (U.S.) 324,030,000 / 4,018,790,175

5. The Legend Of Ip Man (Hong Kong) 262,279,500 / 316,224,500

6. Slumdog Millionaire (U.S.) 220,677,000 / 6,940,187,000

7. Why are you here in our house!? / My Home (South Korea) 171,114,000 / 1,207,785,000

8. My Girlfriend is An Agent (South Korea) 170,226,000 / 189,206,000

9. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (U.S.) 171,937,000 / 217,292,500

10. Duplicity (U.S.) 151,614,000 / 186,101,000

Source: KOFIC

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Thanks to the highlight by mimerita at the News thread --

THR.com / 2009.04.18

CJ unveils Cannes market lineup

Led by 'Mother,' 'Thirst,' co-pros and genre films

By Park Soo-mee

SEOUL--CJ Entertainment will lead its Cannes Film Market next month with "Mother" and "Thirst," two of the most anticipated South Korean films opening this year.

At Cannes from May 13-24, "Mother," director Bong Joon-ho's ambitious follow up to "The Host" (2006), is the story of a widow trying to prove her son's innocence after he becomes a murder suspect.

In "Thirst," director Park Chan-wook adds the offbeat romance of his previous work "I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay," to the story of a small-town priest reborn as a vampire who has an affair with his friend's wife.

CJ's Cannes lineup also will feature a handful of coproductions scheduled for market screening, including Ema Jin's co-pro with China, "Sophie's Revenge," starring Zhang Ziyi ("Memoirs of a Geisha"), and "Sayonara Itsuka" by John H Lee ("Cut Runs Deep"), starring Hidetoshi Nashijima ("La Maison De Himiko").

CJ also will take Korean genre films to Cannes, including "Private Eye," a period crime thriller about a physician secretly practicing his autopsy skills with a body he found in the woods, featuring Hwang Jung-min ("A Good Lawyer's Wife"). "Castaway on the Moon" (previously called "Kim's Island"), directed by Lee Hey-Jun ("Like a Virgin"), is about a man who finds contentment on a deserted island and "Parallel Life," by Kwon Ho-young, is about a judge entangled in a murder case.

J.K. Youn's "Haeundae," a disaster movie that sold to 11 countries at the Hong Kong Filmart, also will go to Cannes.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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PRIVATE EYE still in the TOP 5! rbhcool.gif

z_FILMSTRI.gifWeekly Box Office 2009.04.24 ~ 2009.04.26 3-day Gross/Total Gross (won)

1. My Girlfriend is An Agent / Secret Couple (South Korea) 3,160,591,000 / 4,197,955,000

2. Knowing (U.S.) 1,245,484,000 / 5,150,302,000

3. Monsters Vs. Aliens (U.S.) 1,201,721,500 / 1,275,251,000

4. Private Eye / Shadow Kill (South Korea) 854,619,500 / 11,623,381,500

5. Banlieue 13 - Ultimatum (France) 787,608,000 / 2,745,139,175

6. Fast & Furious (U.S.) 2 189,494,000 / 4,427,353,675

7. Breathless (South Korea) 182,373,000 / 477,177,500

8. Slumdog Millionaire (U.S.) 152,558,500 / 7,260,611,000

9. The Legend Of Ip Man (Hong Kong) 126,206,000 / 636,080,500

10. The Admiral (Russia) 121,450,500 / 167,591,500

Source: KOFIC

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