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The 5 most popular (more than 7 millions admission) films of the year  announced at the 38th Blue Dragon Awards on Saturday, 11/25.


1. A Taxi Driver

2. Confidential Assignment


4. Luck Key

5. The Outlaws


Source: kimwoobin_zone

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December 26, 2017


Fantasy Spectacle Captures Christmas Box Office


By Lee Tae-hoon The ChosunIlbo




"Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds," directed by Kim Yong-hwa, attracted 4.61 million viewers until Sunday, just six days after its release.


The pace is similar to the two of the biggest box-office hits in the history of Korean cinema, "Roaring Currents" in 2014 and "Train to Busan" in 2016.


On Christmas Eve alone, 1.27 million tickets were sold for the fantasy extravaganza, a rare feat for a movie in the traditionally slow winter months.

Other films released around this time did not even get close to 1 million viewers, except for crime caper "Master" starring Lee Byung-hun with 930,000 last year.


"Ode to My Father," the most successful winter release to date, took 12 days to hit the 4 million mark in 2014.


Why is the movie so successful? Koreans love a family drama, and the computer graphics are spectacular.


"Having the power to move viewers is a great virtue for commercial films," says film critic Jeon Chan-il. "I want to praise the way the 'cold' digital CGI and 'warm' analogue sentiments are so well mixed in the movie."


The fantasy aspect appeals to young people, the family theme to older ones.


Movie market analyst Kim Hyung-ho says "Along with the Gods" will easily break the 10 million viewer mark.

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January 26, 2018


Actor Kim Woo-bin exempted from mandatory military service


Park Sae-jin Reporter




SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Aju News) -- Actor Kim Woo-bin, who has received drug and radiation treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer, was exempted from his mandatory military service, his management agency said Friday.


Sidus HQ said in a statement that the 28-year-old received an army draft order last year just after he finished his chemotherapy, but he was deemed unfit for military service. "Kim is receiving a follow-up examination and trying his best to recuperate," the agency said. The rare form of cancer occurs in the upper part of the pharynx behind the nose and above the back of the throat.


Kim led the Hallyu (Korean cultural wave) in Asian countries in 2015 and 2016 after he appeared in "Uncontrollably Fond", a hit TV drama, and the action film "Master". He suspended all activities after he was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in May 2017.

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March 12, 2018


MA$TER Free Screening at KCCLA


Source: Korean Cultural Center LA @kccla


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September 11, 2018 (Related MA$TER excerpt only)


7 K-Dramas & Films With Con Artists Who Never Fail To Charm Us

Full article at soompi by kaityv


If you’re still missing Kim Woo Bin after “The Technicians” we recommend watching “Master.” Caught by the Financial Investigation Unit’s team leader Kim Jae Myung (Kang Dong Won), Park Jang Goon’s (Kim Woo Bin) will to survive is put to the test. He must choose between jail time or turning on his two partners, Chairman Jin (Lee Byung Hun) and Kim Eomma (translates to “Mom” in Korean) (Jin Kyung). The three of them have built a company that they use to commit fraud against the citizens of Korea.


It comes down to con man vs con man, as Jang Goon decides to fight for his freedom instead of the company. It isn’t an easy feat, as no shady behavior can get past Chairman Jin. Jang Goon is constantly holding his breath as he waits for the pin to drop. However, the biggest con man of them all may just be Jae Myung, as he has to use his brains and outsmart both of them to bring justice to the victims. Will Jang Goon and Jae Myung be discovered? Or will Jang Goon go to jail and their victims never be avenged? “Master” will have you holding your breath until the rolling credits!

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January 8, 2019


End-Of-Year Peak Season Scores 
Box Office Results of Korean Films Released in December over the Last 5 Years


by HWANG Hee-yun / KOFIC




December is one of the most profitable periods for Korean films, along with summer. Blockbusters with huge production costs flood the market and reap large box office takes on par with their impressive budgets. The period that saw the all-time biggest commercial successes is indeed December. One only need look at a list of the Korean commercial hits of the last five years that were released in December to get a sense of how crucial this period can be. The Attorney (2013), Ode to My Father (2014) and Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017) all managed to get some legs and were still running in the following month, selling over 10 million tickets. In that respect, this year’s slate of December releases, namely The Drug King (Dec. 19), Swing Kids (Dec. 19) and Take Point (Dec. 26), was eagerly anticipated by moviegoers. Add to that the fact that the first two marked the return of SONG Kang-ho and HA Jung-woo, two of the most bankable actors, while the third one was the latest from Sunny (2011) director KANG Hyoung-chul. However, now that the December peak season is behind us and the figures are in, it appears these three movies have performed rather poor. Released a week earlier than Take Point (2018), The Drug King (2018) welcomed 1.86 million viewers while Swing Kids (2018) took in 1.43 million admissions. Take Point, which opened on December 26, also had a rough time as it only sold 1.6 million tickets. Considering that all three movies had production budgets of over KRW 14 billion (USD 12.5 million), this is seen as a major disappointment by people within and outside of the film industry. Because of this box office slump, it was the first time since 2011 that the December admission figures for Korean movies were way behind those for foreign films.

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th_zz_searchdoc.gifRelated MA$TER-mention only ~ full article compilation here



March 9, 2019


10 Korean Movies To Watch If You’re Looking For Some Eye Candy

Source: Soompi by binahearts


Let’s face it, sometimes after a long and stressful day, all we really want is to kick back and put on a flick where there’s a lot of pretty people in it.


The story doesn’t have to be spectacular, but it definitely helps if it is. In the world of Korean movies, there are a lot of movies with eye-candy, but I’ve taken the pleasure of narrowing this list down. Not only do these movies have good-looking people in it, but the story is also pretty decent! Here’s a look at 10 of our picks.






“Master” is the hit 2016 action film starring Kang Dong Won, Lee Byung Hun, and Kim Woo Bin. With this all-star cast, “Master” made it to No. 32 of the highest-grossing films of all time! And we really wouldn’t expect anything less, especially with this very visually appealing cast.


I mean, really.




Lee Byung Hun plays a con-artist president by the name of Jin, Kang Dong Won plays a detective named Kim Jae Myung, and Kim Woo Bin plays Park Jang Goon, a sidekick of Jin. There’s a reason why it was such a big hit in the box office! The script is so smart and it will keep you wondering what will happen until the end.

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May 10, 2019


The Rise of the Financial Thriller
Modern Anxieties Give Birth to New Korean Subgenre


by Pierce Conran KOFIC




Ever in flux, the Korean film industry constantly tries to adapt itself to the trends and themes of the moment. When a film in a new genre catches the public’s imagination, it doesn’t take long for studios and filmmakers to cotton on to what made that film tick, and how it can be done again. If that sounds a little calculating, it should also be noted that the interests and desires of filmmakers shift along with those of the public.


Among the popular themes explored in Korean films, public mistrust in government, big business, enforcement, education, the judiciary, etc., have long been a source of material for the industry and within that a new sector has begun to carve itself out which focuses on Korea’s financial structures. Although gambling is illegal in Korea (at least for local citizens, as some casinos that are only open to foreigners are permitted to operate), millions take risks with their money, investing in speculative areas such as real estate, business development, and, increasingly, the stock market. Get-rich-quick schemes, untrustworthy friends and family, and unexpected (or tampered with) fluctuations in the property market have thrown many people into financial jeopardy. As such, this aspect of society offers a natural source of relatable narrative tension and drama, as many people will have either experienced such an event, or at least know someone who has.


On the other hand, following the financial meltdown of many global markets a decade ago, financial-themed thrillers have grown in popularity in the West as well. Oliver STONE made Wall Street three decades ago, but modern narratives have looked at how decisions made in Wall Street affect the rest of America, such as Margin Call or The Big Short, while others examine the wanton greed and power games that proliferate in the highest financial circles, such as Martin SCORSESE’s The Wolf of Wall Street or the popular Showtime series Billions.


This week, KoBiz takes a look at some of the films that have emerged as the Korean film industry responded to both this contemporary theme and this sub-genre emerging in the West.




CAST RYU Jun-yeol, YOO Ji-tae, JO Woo-jin
RELEASE March 20, 2019


Essentially the Korean equivalent of Wall Street, with a bit of The Wolf of Wall Street’s style and tone thrown in for good measure, Money is the debut film of director PARK Nu-ri, formerly an assistant director on RYOO Seung-wan’s The Unjust (2010) and The Berlin File (2013), as well as Man In Love (2014), produced by SANAI Pictures, which also handled Money.


Rising superstar RYU Jun-yeol, of A Taxi Driver (2017) and Believer (2018) fame, plays the young stockbroker Il-hyun, who lands a new position in a shiny office on Yeouido, the island in the heart of the Han River that is home to Korea’s financial district. From a poor background, he dreams of making it big but soon realizes that without the right connections he’s ill-equipped to survive in this competitive field. So when he is contacted by the ‘ticket man’ (YOO Ji-tae), a shady character who operates behind the scenes to manipulate the stock market, he takes the opportunity to realize his financial ambitions, while abandoning any moral principles he may have.


Money examines both the prevalence of relying on networks in Korea, and how not having connections can kill any chance of success, as well as the accepted existence of invisible figures that pull the strings of power, politics and finance at the highest levels of society. The film was second only to Extreme Job in the first trimester of the year among Korean films, giving distributor Showbox a hit worth 3.38 million admissions (USD 24.8 million).




CAST KIM Hye-soo, YOO Ah-in, HUH Joon-ho, Vincent CASSEL
RELEASE November 20, 2018


If Money is Korea’s answer to Wall Street, then Default, from SPLIT (2016) director CHOI Kook-hee, is surely the country’s answer to The Big Short. Examining the true life impending collapse of a nation’s financial markets from the perspective of several characters, the film examines how the actions of a few can have wide-raging consequences.


In 1997, following similar problems in other Asian nations, the Korean economy began to fracture due to an overabundance of non-performing loans and excessive capital investment in ambitious corporate expansions. Si-hyun (KIM Hye-soo), a monetary policy manager at the Bank of Korea, can foresee the impending collapse, but she has trouble convincing her superiors to take action. Financial consultant Jung-hak (YOO Ah-in) can also read the signs, so he resigns from his job and assembles a small band of investors to bet against the market. Meanwhile, Gap-su (HUH Joon-ho) runs a small tableware factory and signs a risky contract when a huge opportunity come his way, unaware of what the near future holds. Vincent CASSEL stars as the head of the IMF, who visits Korea to negotiate a bailout.


Exploring the IMF Crisis, an event that brought financial ruin to many, Default peppers a recent historical narrative with several familiar instances of corruption as well as more than a few star names. The concoction proved a fruitful one for CJ Entertainment, as the film welcomed 3.76 million (USD 26.57 million) viewers.






CAST LEE Byung-hun, GANG Dong-won, KIM Woo-bin, UHM Ji-won
RELEASE December 21, 2016


Prior to Money and Default and not strictly a financial thriller, as it also falls in the con artist and action genres, Master ended 2016 with a bang, drawing an enormous 7.15 million spectators (USD 49.92 million) to theaters.


LEE Byung-hun plays Jin, the president of the Won Network, an enormous investment company that is suspected by a financial investigation team led by Kim Jae-Myung (GANG Dong-won) of massive fraud. Jin and his section chief Park Jang-Goon (KIM Woo-bin) try to fend off the investigation just long enough for Jin to escape with mountains of cash from hard-working citizens who were duped by his extensive Ponzi scheme. Inspector Kim and his unit give chase to Jin, who has fled the country, while trying to get Park to crack and spill the beans.


By using the image of one of Korea’s most handsome and trusted stars, Master plays into the ability of charismatic figures to convince the public to make decisions that go against their best interests. Master comes from CHO Ui-seok, one half of the directing duo behind the 2013 hit Cold Eyes, and distributor CJ Entertainment.


The Scam


CAST PARK Yong-ha, PARK Hee-soon, KIM Min-jung
RELEASE February 12, 2009


A full decade ago, the first major Korean film to delve into the financial thriller realm was The Scam, the directorial debut of LEE Ho-jae, who went on to make SORI: Voice from the Heart (2016). The film was a decent performer for Showbox in early 2009, selling 1.52 million tickets (USD 8.67 million).


After suffering a major loss, Hyun-soo (PARK Yong-ha) hunkers down and tries to build a modest fortune as a solo investor and eventually reaches his goal, a sum large enough to allow him to support his mother and younger brother. But in doing so, he disrupts a stock market scam, which incurs the wrath of Hwang Jong-gu (PARK Hee-soon). Rather than exact retribution, Hwang instead uses Hyun-soo in an even bigger scheme, which brings together a ragtag group of people with different finance world connections.


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June 8, 2019 cuppa.gif


Director of MASTER, Dir. Cho Ui Seok had sent a coffee truck to actor Lee Byung Hun at the Mount Baekdu filming site. Thanks to mistymorning for the translated gist.


Dir. Cho's message on banner: Cheering for Lee Byung Hun and Mount Baekdu!


Photos: Lee Byung Hun 

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Fans' feedback thread on twitter ~


Thread by Just Karo


In honor of #MrSunshine's 1st anniversary this July 7 and the actors I'll be watching some of their filmography. Starting with #Master (2016) #LeeByungHun #PresidentJin #KangDongWon  #KimWooBin


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