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August 25, 2017


Michael B. Jordan Tapped for A BITTERSWEET LIFE Remake
KUNG FU PANDA Helmer Fills Director’s Chair


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz





Hollywood is taking another crack at remaking KIM Jee-woon’s modern classic A Bittersweet Life (2005), with studio 20th Century Fox reviving the project with a new director and lead star. Animation director Jennifer Yuh Nelson has been tapped to direct and Michael B. Jordan will take on the role made famous by LEE Byung-hun.


A Bittersweet Life follows a gang boss’ trusted number two who is charged with disposing of his employer’s mistress, but when he falls for the girl he finds himself on the wrong side of his organization. The film was a major critical and commercial success, cementing both KIM and LEE as leading lights of Korean cinema. They have since collaborated together on The Good, the Bad and the Weird (2008), I Saw The Devil (2010) and last year’s The Age of Shadows.


Michael B. Jordan is most well known to viewers for starring in Creed, the latest installment of the Rocky franchise, as Apollo Creed’s son, but he has been impressing viewers for 15 years, starting with an early role in the acclaimed HBO TV series The Wire. He will next be seen opposite Chadwick Boseman in the Marvel title Black Panther.


Known for directing Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3, Nelson is currently working on her live action debut, an adaptation of the young adult thriller novel Dark Materials, which is due for release next year.


Director KIM is currently working on In-rang, a big-budget live-action remake of Japanese animation Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999) while LEE is one of the leads of next month’s period war thriller The Fortress.


The project will be produced by 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen, while the studio behind the original, CJ Entertainment, is also involved.

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September 6, 2017


MASTER, MEMOIR and SHADOWS Book Dates in Japan
Korean Thrillers Head East


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz




A trio of Korean thrillers, KIM Jee-woon’s The Age of Shadows (2016) CHO Ui-seok’s Master (2016) and WON Shin-yun’s MEMOIR OF A MURDERER, are all headed to Japanese theaters in the coming months. Both titles that feature LEE Byung-hun will be released in November, with the third to follow in January.


The first Warner Bros. Korea production, Colonial Era spy action-thriller The Age of Shadows became Director KIM’s biggest hit during the Chuseok season last year when it welcomed 7.5 million viewers. Featuring SONG Kang-ho, GONG Yoo and LEE Byung-hun in a small role, the film will infiltrate Japan at some point in November.


LEE Byung-hun, GANG Dong-won and KIM Woo-bin form the core trio of financial fraud thriller Master from CJ Entertainment and Cold Eyes (2013) director CHO. The most successful title during the end-of-year period in 2016 with 7.15 million entries, the film will be out in Japan on November 10th.


Lastly, January 27th will welcome the release of MEMOIR OF A MURDERER, a new serial killer thriller starring SUL Kyung-gu and The Suspect (2013) director WON. The film, which is based on a novel of a killer with Alzheimer’s trying to protect his daughter from another killer, hits Korean screens this week through distributor Showbox.

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Source: Coco


THE AGE OF SHADOWS (renamed THE SPY) to be released on November 11 in Japan




Published on September 10, 2017 by ナタリー


THE SPY Japanese Trailer


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#Throwback #GBW #NomNomNom


The Good The Bad The Weird Poster Making



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November 25, 2017


[Guest Film Review] "The Age of Shadows"


Source: HanCinema.net


South Korea's contender for the 89th foreign-language Academy Award, and the first Korean-language production for Warner Bros is a blockbuster in every sense.


"The Age of Shadows" screened at Five Flavours, that will be on in Warsaw November 15-22. 


The film is set at the end of the 1920's, in Korea, during the Japanese occupation. Lee Jeong-chool is a Korean working for the Japanese police, whose mission is to uncover members of the Resistance, and particularly Kim Woo-jin, one of its central figures. Lee has some successes, but the Japanese do not fully trust him, and attach to him Hashimoto, supposedly as his assistant, but actually as the man in charge. In this power struggle, both sides use their moles and their informants, and a series of events take place, that lead Lee and Kim to meet, although none of them reveals that he knows the other's identity.


Soon the scenery changes, as all the players move to Shanghai, where the members of the Resistance have moved to avoid investigations and to obtain explosives. Kim soon tricks Lee into a meeting with the leader of the Resistance, Jung Chae-san, and now Lee has to choose sides, as he is blackmailed by the Koreans and suspected by the Japanese. A deadly cat-and-mouse game initiates.


Kim Jee-woon directs and pens a spy thriller that also combines elements of film-noir with action and drama. There is also a minor romantic concept, but it's not actually examined at all, since women are in the definite background. The script is quite elaborate, with constant betrayals and changes in the upper hand, as spies fight against other spies. These notions are chiefly materialized through Lee Jeong-chool's character, who incorporates all of them.




In terms of direction, the film is a true masterpiece. Kim creates a great atmosphere that is shaped through a number of "confrontations", usually between two characters, with the ones between Lee and Kim standing apart. The noir element is chiefly present in these scenes. The highlight of his direction, though, is the sequence on the train, where he manages to retain the agony through an astonishing number of events, which occur despite the restricted space. The bloody finale of these events is another highlight of the film.


After that point, the dramatic element also enters the movie, along with the most violent scenes, which include graphic depiction of torturing. In that fashion, the action scenes are another point of excellence, with the aforementioned and the introductory one, with the magnificent shots on roofs, being the ones that stand apart. The film's large budget ($8.62 million) becomes quite evident in these scenes, which highlight Kim Ji-yong's magnificent cinematography and elaborate editing. The same applies to the utterly detailed depiction of the era, which includes costumes, the setting in both Korea and Shanghai, even cars and rickshaws.




Song Kang-ho is great as always as Lee Jeong-chool, in a very difficult role that demands a constant state of inner struggle. His chemistry with Kim Jee-woon, that has been shaped through three previous collaborations ("The Quiet Family", "The Foul King", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird") is quite evident, and one of the biggest assets of the film. Gong Yoo is also great as the highly intelligent Kim Woo-jin, in another difficult role that has him portraying a character who must hide his angst under a rather cool facade. The one who steals the show, though, is Um Tae-goo as Hashimoto, a truly great villain, both in concept and in materialization. The fact that he oozes evil and threat from every part of his body is a definite point of excellence, as is his constant, covered threat towards Lee Jeong-chool. The scene where he is first introduced, when he hypocritically acts as if he has respect for him, is one of the greatest in the film. Lee Byung-hun also appears in the movie, in a small role, once more looking as smooth as possible.


"The Age of Shadows" is a film destined to succeed, both commercially, since it includes a favorite theme, some of S. Korea's most popular actors, and a rather large budget that was implemented wisely, and artistically, particularly due to the acting and the masterful direction, and it absolutely deserves it.


Review by Panos Kotzathanasis

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January 24, 2018


Korea 'exports' film directors           

Park Chan-wook helms BBC TV series


By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times



Park Chan-wook                         Bong Joon-ho    


Kim Jee-woon                             Kim Yong-hwa


If hallyu is mainly thought of when mentioning actors and K-pop singers, now the term can be applied to renowned film directors.


It has been a long time since high-profile Korean filmmakers rose in the international cinema industry, winning awards with their lauded unique films and exquisite cinematography. Yet their works have largely remained cult favorites.


It might change, as many Korean film directors are taking on films in other countries and some are making TV series in the U.S. and U.K. and meeting wider global audiences.


Multiple-award-winning director Park Chan-wook, who was recently nominated for Best Film Not in English at the British Academy Film Awards with the erotic thriller "The Handmaiden" (2016), is directing a TV adaptation of John le Carre's 1983 spy thriller "The Little Drummer Girl" for the BBC.


It is Park's TV debut and his second international undertaking following the 2013 Hollywood film "Stoker."


The six-episode spy thriller is about an actress who, seeking to escape the dullness of the English bourgeoisie, is lured by an Israeli intelligence agent into a mission to eliminate a Palestinian terrorist group.


"At the core of this story is an extremely painful, but thrilling, romance. This is what makes the story universal, reaching beyond borders and languages and remaining incredibly current," Park told the BBC.


It will also air on U.S. channel AMC.


Director Bong Joon-ho, who premiered "Okja" at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival where it competed for the Palme d'Or, has joined the production of the American TV series "Snowpiercer" as executive producer. The TV adaptation of Bong's 2013 film of the same name, which is his first English-language sci-fi movie, will reach U.S. audiences through cable channel TNT.


Director Kim Seong-hun, known for his 2016 film "The Tunnel," is also making zombie TV series "Kingdom," which will be released on Netflix later this year.


Experts say for these directors to jump to the small screen, it's like catching two birds with one stone, gaining both unique filmmaking styles and massive appeal. "Korean directors like Kim Jee-woon, Bong Joon-ho and Park have been recognized as auteurs with unique worldviews. But, unlike K-dramas, we don't talk about K-film hallyu because they failed to reach wide audiences. We can speak of hallyu only if it has a wide impact on general audiences," said Hwang Young-mee, a film critic and professor at Sookmyung Women's University. "With their recent ventures, they have earned a springboard to reach wider audience bases."


She says these directors have established cinema genres of their own that can appeal to Western audiences. "Park shares Western world views of Hebraism and Hellenism. Kim's great mise-en-scene and Bong's social criticism can also appeal to Western film fans," she said.


Darcy Paquet, an American film critic and translator who has worked on English subtitles for over 100 Korean films, says to a certain extent it's becoming a trend for well-established filmmakers around the world to work in TV.


"Festivals like Cannes and Berlin have added sections for TV series which have been very well received. The big Korean directors have been talking to Hollywood studios for a number of years now, but right now it seems that trends in TV and trends in the Korean film industry have reached a contact point," Paquet said. "A TV series can attract new high-profile directing talent, and directors can try their hand at a different kind of storytelling.


"The Good, The Bad, The Weird" director Kim Jee-woon teams with Stan Lee, who created Marvel characters including Spider-man, Iron Man and the X-Men, to produce the superhero film "Chroma." Kim Yong-hwa, known for his recent hit film "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds," also joins Lee for his Hollywood debut "Prodigal," a superhero film about "paternal love."


"Hollywood has been showing keen interest in Korean films. With relatively low budgets, Korean filmmakers make Hollywood-style movies," Kim said in a recent interview with a local daily.


Regarding the recent surge of Korean film directors entering international markets, a market insider says it can also be explained with demand and supply. "With soaring number of content distribution channels outnumbering content providers, the market has a high need for good storytellers," said an official of a local drama production company.


"Overseas production companies continue to invest in local content and are looking for gains in intellectual property. Now that they see Korean content has marketing power in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, they are increasing their investments and that leads to more Korean filmmakers working on global projects."



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March 27, 2018


Brussels Fantastic Film Festival to Screen 11 Works from Korea



by Pierce Conran / KoBiz


This year’s 36th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival will screen 11 Korean films when it kicks off on April 3 for its 13-day run. 


KIM Yong-hwa’s fantasy epic Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017), which became the second most successful Korean movie of all time following its release last December, has been invited to the festival’s ‘International Competition’ section. LIM Dae-woong’s mystery-thriller House of the Disappeared (2017), with KIM Yun-jin, is also in the competition lineup.


Meanwhile, Jay SONG’s The Nightmare (2017) will have its world premiere in Belgium in BIFFF’s 7th Orbit Competition section. The film features OH Ji-ho as a director who writes a screenplay to deal with the death of his daughter.


BIFFF’s ‘Thriller Competition’ will feature LEE An-gyu’s gangster action-drama A Special Lady (2017) with KIM Hye-soo, which debuted at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival last year, where it picked up the Focus Asia Award for Best Asian Film, KIM Tae-yun’s judicial drama New Trial (2017) with KANG Ha-neul and JUNG Woo and WON Shin-yun’s serial killer thriller MEMOIR OF A MURDERER (2017) with SUL Kyung-gu.


Brussels is also screening three works by acclaimed genre cineaste KIM Jee-woon, including his revenge drama I Saw the Devil (2010), his period action-thriller The Good, The Bad, And The Weird (2008) and his mystery-horror A Tale of Two Sisters (2003).


BIFFF will also screen KWAK Kyung-taek’s supernatural thriller RV: Resurrected Victims (2017) led by KIM Rae-won.

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March 30, 2018


KIM Jee-woon’s Sci-fi Action Drama INRANG Completes 8 Months of Filming

GANG Dong-won, HAN Hyo-joo and JUNG Woo-sung Headline JINROH Remake


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz




KIM Jee-woon’s highly anticipated Inrang (working title), a remake of the Japanese animation Jinroh: The Wolf Brigade, completed almost eight months of production on March 23. The project is headlined by GANG Dong-won, HAN Hyo-joo and JUNG Woo-sung.


Set in the near future, the film takes place in a world where the governments of South and North Korea are on the cusp of reunification, following seven years of preparation. When demonstrations opposing the unification turn more violent, a special police force is formed to combat them. 


The film’s unusually long production period follows an equally long development process as Inrang was first announced in 2013. The project was stalled on several occasions until director KIM found himself reuniting with Warner Bros. Korea.


GANG Dong-won was recently seen in the political drama 1987: When the Day Comes (2017) and the Lunar New Year thriller Golden Slumber. HAN Hyo-joo also appeared in Golden Slumber while JUNG Woo-sung headlined the North Korea spy action-drama Steel Rain (2017) in December.


Featuring alongside the main cast in the film are GIM Mu-yeol of Forgotten (2017), HAN Ye-ri from A Quiet Dream (2016), HU Joon-ho (The Merciless, 2017) and Minho, a member of Kpop group SHINee.


Known for A Bittersweet Life (2005), The Good, The Bad, And The Weird (2008) and I Saw the Devil (2010), director KIM most recently helmed the period spy drama The Age of Shadows (2016), which was the first film to be financed and distributed by Warner Bros. Korea.


The plan is to release the film at some point in the summer, but given the extensive VFX work required for post-production, the distributor is unable to confirm a release at this time.

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May 27, 2018


The 15 best thrillers on Hulu to get your heart racing

The best thrillers on Hulu are just a click away.


Audra Schroeder The Daily Dot


The best movies on Hulu are just a click away, but sometimes you’re in the mood for something that doesn’t fit squarely in the comedy or drama genres. Something that gets under your skin and stays with you long after viewing. Hulu has an impressive selection of thrillers to keep you up at night. Here are the best thrillers on Hulu right now.


The best thrillers on Hulu


1) 10 Cloverfield Lane


2) Cloverfield (with Showtime add-on)


3) The Matrix


4) Borgman


5) 13 Assassins


6) Zodiac


7) I Saw the Devil


best thrillers hulu - i saw the devil

This South Korean thriller pits two of the country’s most well-known actors (Choi Min-sik and Lee Byung-hun) as a cop and a serial killer, respectively. It’s a cat-and-mouse story, or maybe cat-and-cat is more appropriate, as Byung-hun relentlessly tracks and tortures the man (Min-sik) who killed his wife. The film is directed by maestro Kim Jee-woon, so you’re in good hands. I Saw the Devil is brutal and provocative, and if you have the stomach for it, it’s well worth a watch. —Eddie Strait


8) The Crow


9) Manhunter


10) Arrival


11) Children of Men (with Showtime add-on)


12) Mom and Dad


13) Let the Right One In


14) The Babadook


15) Bronson

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June 5, 2018


KIM Jee-won's Sci-fi INRANG Arms Up for July Release

WB Korea to Distribute JINROH Remake with GANG Dong-won, HAN Hyo-joo, JUNG Woo-sung


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz




KIM Jee-woon’s highly anticipated Inrang (Korean title), a remake of the acclaimed Japanese animation Jinroh: The Wolf Brigade, is almost upon us. Along with a pair of teaser posters, local distributor Warner Bros. Korea announced that the film would be hitting screens at some point in July.


Set in the year 2029, the story of Inrang takes place as North and South Korea has been preparing for a reunification for five years. Various factions oppose the union and a dangerous terrorist group known as ‘Sect’ arises. In response, the government sets up a special police force. The original Jinroh was released in 1999, directed by OKIURA Hiroyuki and written by the famed OSHII Mamoru, who is known for directing Ghost in the Shell, among many others.


GANG Dong-won (Master, 2016) plays IM Joong-kyung, a member of the special force, while HAN Hyo-joo (Cold Eyes, 2013) plays LEE Yoon-hee, the elder sister of a girl who detonates a suicide bomb in front of IM’s eyes. JUNG Woo-sung (Steel Rain, 2017) features as JANG Jin-tae, the head of the training academy for the special force. Co-stars include GIM Mu-yeol (Forgotten, 2017), HAN Ye-ri (Worst Woman, 2016), HU Joon-ho (The Merciless, 2017) and Min-ho (Derailed, 2016), a member of the Kpop group SHINee.


Given the blockbuster size of the production, it’s a safe bet to assume that Inrang will drop in the second half of July, a prime movie-going season in Korea that has served as the launching pad of several big-budget Korean films, such as BONG Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer (2013), YEON Sang-ho’s TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016) and RYOO Seung-wan’s The Battleship Island (2017).


It will likely face strong competition with Mission: Impossible - Fallout also expected in late July (though no date has been set yet), while KIM Yong-hwa’s Along with Gods: The Last 49 Days and YOON Jong-bin’s The Spy Gone North will likely follow in early August, along with other local titles rumored to be eyeing late summer releases, such as WOO Min-ho’s The Drug King.

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Source: Pierce Conran @pierceconran

Kim Jee-woon’s hotly anticipated INRANG has dropped its first teaser! Fleeting images look incredible and full trailer is out later this week! Live action remake of JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE hits Korean theaters in late July. #인랑



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June 18, 2018


Director Kim Jee-woon's 'Inrang' unveiled to media

By Shim Sun-ah


SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) -- Acclaimed director Kim Jee-woon's long-anticipated sci-fi thriller "Inrang" was partly unveiled to media on Monday.


Set in 2029 with the two Koreas having agreed to launch a unified government, South Korean police launches a special unit to stop an anti-reunification terrorist group called "Sect."


Feeling threatened by the growing influence of the formidable police unit, the state intelligence agency plots to destroy it. As they engage in a veiled battle, rumors that the unit has secret human weapons called "wolves" spread quickly across the country.


Director Kim Jee-woon (3rd from R) and the main cast of "Inrang" pose for photographers during a press conference to promote the film at a Seoul theater on June 18, 2018. (Yonhap)

Director Kim Jee-woon (3rd from R) and the main cast of "Inrang" pose for photographers during a press conference to promote the film at a Seoul theater on June 18, 2018. (Yonhap)


"The title 'Inrang' comes from the Korean word meaning 'werewolf.' In the movie, you can see a man who is raised to be a human weapon but is torn between conflicting values inside of him through the main character named Im Joong-kyung," Kim said during a press conference to promote the forthcoming film at a Seoul theater.


It is a Korean live-action adaptation of the Japanese animated film masterpiece "The Wolf Brigade" by Hiroyuki Okiura.


Kim said it was a "reckless decision" to remake the animated work but he made every effort not to disappoint the original movie's fans.


"The fans probably had both anticipation and anxiety for the live-action version of the film. I felt the same way. I was more anxious because I was the one who made the film and thought it was too much of a reckless decision. I knew the film is going to be criticized whether it is good or not. But this situation made me work harder than ever," he recalled.


"I never thought I would do films like this kind after 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird.' I was very sick while making the new movie and am still sick. It is the title that hurt my health the most."


Gang Dong-won plays Im Joong-kyung, a highly-trained member of a special police unit assigned to quell the terrorists. After "a girl in a red cape" detonated herself right in front of his eyes while on a mission to secretly carry a bomb, Im visits the girl's elder sister, Lee Yoon-hee (played by Han Hyo-joo), to deliver her belongings. After the encounter, he sways between his mission that forces him to be a beast and his feelings toward her.


It marks Gang's second work with the director after the 30-minute short film "The X," made for ScreenX immersive screening system.


"I received a call from Kim's assistant director about 2012," Gang answered when asked how he came to take the role. "I accepted the offer at that time and it took six years for the film to come out."


For the warrior role, Gang had to adapt himself to a power suit that weighs more than 40 kilograms.


"I couldn't even walk in the outfit at first, but my body felt comfortable with it after a week. And then the director asked me to run, so I ran. He later made me fight hand-to-hand with the suit on," he said.


"It was the most difficult role that I have ever delivered. I agonized a lot over how to carry out the role well from the very beginning because it was a very complicated character," she said. "But I gradually felt comfortable and friendly with the character, coming to understand what the director meant to express and feel the atmosphere of the set."


The film also stars Jung Woo-sung as Jang Jin-tae, chief of the training camp for the police unit, and SHINee's Choi Min-ho as Jang's right-armed man and leading member of the special police unit.


Presented by Warner Bros. Pictures, "Inrang" opens in local theaters on July 25.



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