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January 9, 2017

Animated Japanese film dominates S. Korean weekend box office

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- The hit Japanese animation "Your Name" has snatched the box office crown from local blockbuster film "Master" in South Korea over the weekend, data showed on Monday.

According the real-time based box office tally from the Korean Film Council, the Japanese fantasy animation attracted 837,556 moviegoers over its first weekend, making the total number of local attendance to 1.18 million.

The Makoto Shinkai film, which had also previously topped the box offices of China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan, depicts the story of two teenagers who accidentally switch bodies.

It pushed South Korean action-flick "Master," which had been in the lead for two weeks since the day of its release, to the runner-up position with 562,102 in attendance, although the film already exceeded 6.5 million in accumulated viewers.

The Hollywood sci-fi "Passengers" and American musical animation "Sing" came in third and fourth, selling 351,022 and 183,357 tickets, respectively.

Next came the Russian animated movie "The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice," which was seen by 170,476 viewers.


Photo: umjeewon

UJW: Thank you Master 6 Million Audience!

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Master (2016)

Korean thriller "Master" feels like it should have an Indian-style intermission in the middle as it shuffles characters up, changes locations, and basically feels like filmmaker Jo Ui-seok has made both a tight, entertaining thriller and its decent sequel, then stitched them together to make something that works as one movie but feels a little stretched out. Ten minutes to stretch your legs and get ready for something new would have helped, although it still makes fine use of a great cast regardless.

It kicks off with financial fraud detectives Kim Jae-myung (Gang Dong-won) and Shin Gemma (Uhm Ji-won) attending a presentation of the “One Network”, an investment firm that promises daily dividends and full transparency, already boasting over a hundred thousand members and poised to grow even larger with its plans to acquire a savings back; they think President Jin Hyun-pil (Lee Byun-hun) is running South Korea’s largest pyramid scheme. Close to bringing it down, they consider the real prizes to be One’s data center and a ledger full of blackmail material that would help Jin, PR handler “Mama” Kim Eom-ma (Jin Kyung), and systems chief Park Jang-goon (Kim Woo-bin) escape persecution. Their plan is to turn Park, although the cocky young man already seems to have contingency plans in place.

Those that don’t follow Korean cinema particularly closely will probably, at most, recognize the name of Lee Byung-hun, who has appeared in a number of Hollywood productions over the past few years, and even they will likely be surprised to see him playing the villain with a bit of a weathered face and a touch of silver in his hair. It turns out to be fun casting against type as he’s able to sell Jin as the charismatic entrepreneur in the opening before he starts shedding his fake bonhomie backstage, a pivot that’s funny in real time but doesn’t stop him from still coming off as half-convincing when Jin’s trying to scam people later on. If you are a fan of Korean film, though… That’s a heck of a cast. Gang Dong-won is coming off a string of hits and brings a very enjoyable swagger to the righteous chief investigator, Kim Woo-bin is one of South Korea’s most popular up-and-coming young actors, Jin Kyung and Uhm Ji-won are reliable familiar faces, and the film even breaks out reliable actor Oh Dal-su to play a breezily corrupt lawyer in the second half.

Part of what made Jo’s previous film Cold Eyes an improvement on its businesslike Hong Kong source material is that he’s good at making characters in genre films play off each other in entertaining ways without being too self-referential or precious about it, and that knack keeps the first half of the movie especially zippy. The masterminds behind One Network come off as a well-oiled machine whose energetically-amoral parts have no great fondness for each other, and their being capable and funny but not some sort of tight-knit family makes them fun to watch snipe without feeling like they’ll rip the audience off by imploding on their own. The cops hunting them down are just barbed enough to not be boring, and when the second half calls for undercover work and new alliances, it freshens things up before they can get boring.

That second half, with large chunks sections in Manila as the villains who escaped Seoul plot an even bigger and more dastardly scheme, is where things start to stretch a bit too far at points. The first half was fairly breezy because while its pyramid scheme was self-evidently a bad thing that would hurt a lot of people, it was both the sort of con where the individual victims buy in partly because of their own greed while Jin’s promises got more absurdly grandiose; the “Eco Manila” gambit not only doesn’t have a lot of those mitigating circumstances, but both Jin and Jae-myung wind up with fairly convoluted plans that require more attention for less payoff. It all feels more diffuse, too; the directly-butting heads from the first half start circling each other, and for a while it seems like things are moving apart at the very point where most movies are bringing things together.

When things do start coming to a head, at least, Jo doesn’t mess around, treating the audience to clever mind games and some intense shoot-outs. There’s been just enough of that sort of thing that switching into high gear doesn’t feel like a weird or dishonest change at all, and things have certainly started to pick up again by this point with Lee, Kang, and Kim all kicking things up a notch as the stakes get higher in the run to the end. Things are never quite so uncertain as Jo wants the audience to believe, but it’s still a kick to watch things play out regardless.

The mid-film switch-up is a tough thing to pull off, and in this case it leaves "Master" a little less than what it could have been, with the changes of plans perhaps working better without another adjustment on top of them. Fortunately, the film’s got both the sort of great cast and a filmmaker that can make the ping-pong elements work,




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Thanks to Barbara at  LBH soompi for the review highlight

It's a pretty good review yes.gif KWB fans will be delighted to read this. :)

January 6, 2017

MA$TER Movie Review & Film Summary (2017)

by Brian Tallerico |  Roger Ebert.com


Cho Ui-seok’s “Master” drops us into what might be considered second-act material for most films, but this epic has 143 minutes to go and there’s no time for set-up. And so we meet Kim Jae-Myung (Dong-won Gang) deep into his criminal investigation of power player Jin Hyun-Pil (Byung-hun Lee). Kim is an audience member for a speech being given by Jin to his most emotional supporters. Even Jin is moved to tears by the powerful unity he’s created through the One Network, one of the most profitable companies in all of Korea. However, as Kim has discovered through his work in the Financial Crimes Unit, Jin’s empire is built on a pyramid scheme. While Jin preaches to his choir like a cult leader, Kim plans to take him down.

The opening scenes of “Master” promise an intricate, complex crime thriller a la “Infernal Affairs” and “Drug War,” and there are glimpses of that kind of movie buried within this often-talky, bloated flick that’s more often concerned with money laundering than gunfire. The performances are solid to great throughout, and Cho does build to a remarkably satisfying final twenty minutes, but it takes two hours to get there, and much of those 120 minutes are weighed down with overdirected scenes of people planning, negotiating, or staring at computer screens. There’s little that's less thrilling than scenes of people hacking furiously.

One of those hackers is the fascinating Park Jang-gun (Woo-bin Kim), who Captain Kim takes into custody in the film’s opening moments. Park becomes the bridge between Dong-won Gang’s Al Pacino and Byung-hun Lee’s Robert De Niro to, use a “Heat” analogy. As Kim and his team force Park to set Jin up for arrest, this version of Gordon Gekko learns that there’s a mole in his operation. The first hour of “Master” focuses on this dynamic—the informant in the system and the way both sides push and pull at the young man, who may have a plan of his own to come out of this disaster as the ultimate winner. It culminates in a fantastic tunnel sequence, full of twists and turns, and something of an ending at the midway point of the film.

Then “Master” keeps going. For basically the length of an entire new film. Without spoilers, the movie sort of resets and Kim’s operation has to start over again, only with international repercussions. It’s almost like two films in a potential franchise were written, the team decided neither movie could stand on their own, and so they were smashed together. It makes for a somewhat exhausting, undeniably repetitive affair. The second hour of the film goes through many of the same motions as the first, and the characters just aren’t resonant or vibrant enough for us to care. Lee is a great actor (and you really should check out his work in “The Good, the Bad, and the Weird” if you have yet to do so), but he’s not given enough to work with here. However, it’s a testament to his remarkable charisma that he still outshines Gang, who’s somehow even more woefully underwritten. And that’s a not-uncommon problem of these thrillers—the villain is way more interesting than the cop, leaving us to wonder exactly who we should be rooting for.

Perhaps that’s why Woo-bin Kim walks away with so much of the movie. While the good cop and the bad businessman are archetypes in which “Master” cannot find something new to say, Kim’s “man in the middle” is pretty fascinating, and this young actor grounds the entire film. He’s easily the most interesting character, the one with shifting morals and an uncertain future.

And despite my issues with the bloated midsection of “Master,” the final twenty minutes almost justify the lengthy journey. Cho finally delivers in these scenes, twisting and turning his plot, while also giving us the car chases and gunfire we’ve been waiting for. The only question is if you’ll still be awake by the time he gets there.

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In Singapore :) Hong Kong :sweatingbullets:


January 11, 2017

Movie Review: Master

by Rachel Chan The New Paper Singapore

South Korea is really upping its game with its television dramas and movies, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Filling it with some of the most popular actors in South Korea really works to the movie’s advantage.

Lee Byung Hun plays the president of a successful company that is linked to a big fraud.

Kim Jae Myung (Gang Dong Won) leads his investigation team to crack the case and tracks down Park Jang Goon (Kim Woo Bin), the company’s IT architect. Jo Ui Seok, who directed Master, captures the true essence of a thriller as the movie leaves the audience in anticipation of what is to come.

The actors bring different colours to the storyline, but they complement one another so well.

It is no wonder the movie was such a hit when it premiered in South Korea. Also, props to the screen direction and commendable CGI.


January 10, 2017

Film review: Master – Lee Byung-hun, Gang Dong-won in superficial financial drama
With little to offer viewers other than action and exotic locations, director Jo Ui-seok’s 143-minute endurance test can’t be saved by its stars

James Marsh South China Morning Post Hong Kong

2.5/5 stars

Following the critical and commercial success of his surveillance thriller Cold Eyes – a remake of the Johnnie To-produced Hong Kong film Eye in the Sky – director Jo Ui-seok returns with a sprawling financial drama that boasts some of the biggest names in South Korean cinema.

When Jin (Lee Byung-hun), the charismatic founder of a corporate empire, is suspected of scamming his investors out of millions, financial crimes captain Kim (Gang Dong-won) puts the screws on young tech whizz kid Park (Kim Woo-bin) to give up his boss. Not only does this expose a much larger swindle, but it also incentivises Park to question his loyalties and put his own plans into action.

Lee swaggers across the screen in an increasingly ostentatious wardrobe, effortlessly overshadowing his co-stars. Kim Woo-bin portrays Park as a bizarre extrovert, almost metrosexual character who never garners much sympathy, while the chameleonic Gang seems all but lost as a straight-laced cop.
Kim Woo-bin (second from right) in a scene from Master.

Fortunately the film boasts a pair of tough female roles for Uhm Ji-won and Jin Kyung, operating on opposing sides of the law.

Master continues the trend set in motion by box office hits like Inside Men , Veteran and A Violent Prosecutor , of positioning a high-octane action thriller within the corrupt world of finance and big business. But beyond the glamour, action and exotic locations, it’s a shallow, superficial endeavour, lacking the dramatic weight or political claws to make much of a statement with its material.

At 143 minutes, Master also proves more endurance test than entertainment.

Master opens on January 12

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January 12, 2017

Lee Byung Hun's Hong Kong fans enjoyed his latest movie "Ma$ter"




Eleven LBH Hong Kong fans watched “Ma$ter” together tonight.  It is an entertaining movie with great action scenes.  As a thriller, the movie delivered.  However, the plot is rather weak and the movie lacked character development.

We all loved Lee Byung Hun's  acting and we thought his acting is excellent and improving each time he appeared in a new movie.  His portrayal of the villain Jin is superb! He made special effort to speak English with a Filipino accent which indicated how serious he is as an actor and how attentive he was to details.  We also thought Kim Woo Bin's performance was good!

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@peonie Thanks Barbara for sharing your MA$TER thoughts with us here, it's really great to read fans' feedback on the movie. At the end of the day, it's what the fans think that matters more than anything else. Despite some of the not-so-nice reviews, if one enjoys the movie, then it's a good thing and nothing should change that. Glad to know that many non-Korean fans are now able to watch the movie so soon after the release in Korea. Looks like Singapore and Hong Kong fans were treated to the premiere on the same day. Hopefully more fans who have watched MA$TER will share with the thread their thoughts as well.

January 12, 2017

Glass shards to the face and having to dance without music
All in a day’s work for Korean actors Kim Woo-Bin and Gang Dong-Won

BY HON JING YI honjingyi@mediacorp.com.sg TODAYonline


From left: Actors Kim Woo-Bin and Gang Dong-Won and director Cho Ui-Seok laugh as they talk about their filming experiences during a media conference for action flick Master. Photo: Hon Jing Yi/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Movie-making is a tough business — just ask Gang Dong-Won and Kim Woo-Bin.

The Korean stars, who were in Singapore on Thursday (Jan 12) with director Cho Ui-Seok to promote their latest movie Master, faced multiple challenges shooting the action flick. In addition to picking up skills like boxing, the cast and crew had to spend days in a hot and crowded slum in Manila, where it would often rain just before shoots began.

“It was a tough and challenging environment,” Kim, 27, said about his experience filming in Manila, with the help of a translator. “Aside from the hot weather, there was a slaughterhouse next to (our set), so that was tough. But after a few days, we got used to it, so we started shooting and eating together and it was fine. We also saw children playing in the slums, and they looked so happy and cheerful it made me think a lot (about how they lived).”

Gang and co-star Lee Byung-hun also injured themselves while shooting action scenes on the set of Master, which tells the story of a detective (Gang) who is determined to take down the mastermind (Lee) of a massive pyramid scheme with the help of a genius coder (Kim).

Even though he left the most dangerous scenes to stuntmen, Gang was injured by glass while shooting an explosion scene. Lee, who did not attend the media conference in Singapore, sprained his neck and shoulder.

“The gunpowder was too strong (in the explosion we were filming) and the glass hit my face. I saw my face bleeding and went, ‘wow, this is terrible’,” Gang recounted, speaking in English. “I sat and waited... (Everyone was) shocked, and nobody touched me. Everybody was just watching me, so I had to (pull the shards out) myself.”

The 35-year-old, who sustained small cuts on his face and still has a scar under his chin from the accident, said Cho felt so guilty over the accident, he apologised to his mother several times.

“Whenever reporters ask him about this accident, I feel so sorry. But Gang has a really good attitude so he just laughs it off,” Cho said. “I felt like I was injuring a national treasure.”

While Kim was spared from boxing lessons and facial-scarring injuries, he had his own set of difficulties to contend with. The actor, who’s starred in shows such as Friends 2 and The Heirs, had to dance “like Beyonce” for the camera.

“I am not good at singing or dancing in front of people. And at that point in our shoot I was not close to the crew yet, so I couldn’t rehearse the scene on the spot. Instead, I spent the night before practising in front of a camera. I showed it to the director the next morning, and he liked it. I tried to channel as much as Beyonce as I could,” Kim quipped.

Even though no one apart from the costume designer could tell that Kim was actually trying to dance like Beyonce, Cho seemed to appreciate the actor’s efforts.

“There was no background music, so he had to dance while the crew (just) stared at him,” the director said.

Master opens in theatres in Singapore on Jan 13.

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Master (2016) Movie Review

By Aaron Rourke (Melbourne, Australia) MovieQuotesAndMore

 An undeniably entertaining mix of relevant company intrigue and globe-trotting adventure, Master initially appears like it’s going to be that perfectly timed cannonball fired at the broadside of the South Korean bureaucratic system. But due to a major shift in tone and focus during its second half, this slickly produced thriller doesn’t hit the bullseye like it should. Raking in $41 million in its first two weeks of domestic release, Master has certainly struck a chord with local audiences, and given what has happened politically in South Korea over the last twelve months, one can see why.

The film grabs our attention straight away, with a compelling monologue delivered by Kim Jae-myung (Gang Dong-won), Captain of the Intellectual Crime Investigation Team, comparing a story about Winston Churchill encountering a police officer on the way to an important conference, to the dedication required by his own fellow agents. It appropriately sets the mood for what is to follow.

Kim has been doggedly investigating Jin Hyun-pil (Lee Byung-hun), President of the hugely successful marketing company One Network, an organisation that have taken money from the everyday person, aggressively invested their money into various, hopefully lucrative interests, and then promising to deliver profits that are both large and fair. Jin is finalising a deal that will see the company take ownership of a bank, something he says will put more money in shareholders’ pockets. It isn’t long before Jin reveals his true identity, lining his own pockets with other people’s money, while seeing the bank acquisition as a way to attain more financial gain from the interest made on shady loans.

Kim sees a way into this highly secretive, well-organised world via software systems Chief Park Jang-goon (Kim Woo-bin), who is coerced into ratting out his Network colleagues. As the group cover their tracks all-too-well, Kim tells Park that what he needs to nail Jin is the location of the company’s data centre, which alludes to the CEO’s various off-shore accounts, and his secret ledger, filled with the names of numerous politicians, judges, and police superiors who have been bribed to look the other way.

Though never able to fully trust Park, Kim and his crew set their plan in motion, but of course many problems occur along the way, with the increasingly treacherous operation eventually taking them to the bustling streets of Manila in the Philippines.

During its first half, Master sets up its plot and characters in a way that is fascinating, promising to examine the inherent corruption that is crippling the current political landscape and the enforcement agencies who work beneath it. Sadly the topic of pyramid schemes never goes out of fashion, and while people are still prepared to believe in get-rich-quick propositions that seem too good to be true, fraudulent slime like Jin and his ilk will always exist. The web of bribery and moral compromise is also handled believably and with purpose.

However, when the story moves to Manila, the entire nature of the film changes, transforming into a Mission Impossible-type crusade where it would not have been out of place if Tom Cruise made a surprise appearance. In fact, one has to largely realign themselves with the movie they are now watching. The plotting becomes more fanciful, the real world politics begin to take a back seat, and as such it undercuts the solid work built up in the early stages. There is no doubting that Master remains enjoyable, but its dramatic impact is diluted.

Particular story elements, as well as the presence of Lee Byung-hun, reminds one of 2015’s Inside Men, which also dealt with widespread corruption in high places. But its densely-plotted script remained fully focused on its troubling subject matter, and is easily the superior of the two films.

Performances are strong right across the board. Gang Dong-won is suitably efficient as Kim, stripping his straight-laced character of any flash and dazzle in favour of obsessive, investigative fervour. Comparable to Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness in Brian De Palma’s classic The Untouchables (1987), Kim is someone who first and foremost wants justice to be served. This talented young actor has become a major box-office draw, building up a reliable reputation through films such as Duelist, Haunters, The Secret Reunion, A Violent Prosecutor, and The Priests.

Kim Woo-bin, with only a handful of movies to his name, including the royally entertaining Twenty, takes another impressive step forward here. Playing someone who doesn’t know which side to take, Kim makes Park an interesting creation, and also provides a lot of the film’s nicely placed sense of humour.

Megastar Lee Byung-hun, known to western audiences from supporting roles in Hollywood features such as G.I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra, Terminator: Genisys, Red 2, and most recently The Magnificent Seven, has a distinguished career that has lasted well-over twenty years. Working with world-renowned film-makers like Park Chan-wook, Kim Jee-woon, and Tran Ahn Hung, Lee has appeared in a multitude of critically acclaimed movies, including The Harmonium In My Memory, JSA: Joint Security Area, A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad The Weird, I Come With The Rain, I Saw The Devil, and Masquerade. Normally on the side of good, Lee is obviously having fun portraying the bad guy, and his charisma is put to excellent use, convincing audiences that would-be investors would hand over their life savings to this smooth operator.

Other stand out work comes from Uhm Ji-won (Hope, The Silenced, The Phone) as lively agent Shin Gemma, Jin Kyung (Cold Eyes, Slow Video, Assassination) as ‘Mama’ Kim, Jin’s PR manager and fellow partner in crime, and the wonderful Oh Dal-su (The Great Actor, Oldboy, Tunnel, Veteran), who shines as a lawyer with a hidden agenda.

Writer/director Cho Ui-Seok, who has only made three other features, the last of which was the exciting spy thriller Cold Eyes in 2013, again helms proceedings with a sure hand. Cho manages to stay in control even when his script changes tone considerably, riding the initial bump with skill and style. Viewer interest could have been easily lost, but Cho ensures we stay absorbed right through to its effective finale.

Master, with its topical material, could have delivered a memorably potent punch, but a deviation in the writing dissipates the story’s overall impact. Movie goers will be definitely entertained, just not fully satisfied.

Rating: 3/5

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Watched it earlier & Woobin was the true star of the movie! He had the best lines and his character had more layers than Byunghun and Dongwon. Dongwon in particular looked like he stepped out of the pages of a magazine for most of the movie LoL, not to mention he looked kind of like another K-Actor - Joo Won:blink: And Byunghun's character was more of a caricature of a stereotypical villain-_- Interestingly enough, the woman who plays Mama Kim is also Woobin's Mom in Uncontrollably Fond as well:D

Overall it was pretty entertaining but the pace was too slow in some parts for me personally, still not a bad watch.

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did won bin borrow dongwon shoes, i remember in one kbs interview dongwon wore yellow shoes like that

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12 hours ago, Chi Le said:

did won bin borrow dongwon shoes, i remember in one kbs interview dongwon wore yellow shoes like that


*woo bin ^^

Woo Bin is wearing different brand, but I bet it was KDW's influence lol This two got pretty close heh

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