Song Kang-ho

Well Go USA

It’s easy to forget for those of us in the United States that as recently as the mid 1980s South Korea was under a military-led despotic rule. Post-war Korea saw universities and libraries at risk of closure, free speech and freedom of the press curtailed, and the concept of democracy destined to be little more than a dream. That ended less than thirty years ago, but for many South Koreans it must seem like only yesterday. Their action/revenge films may be the ones that most frequently reach our shores, but the Korean film industry also has a subgenre of films exploring this delicate and frightening time in their relatively recent history. Im Sang-soo’s excellent and absurd The President’s Last Bang is one of the more well-known examples, and Yang Woo-seok‘s The Attorney begins roughly around the same time in the late ’70s. Song Woo-seok (Song Kang-ho) is a lawyer whose lack of “proper” education has forced him to be craftier in his trade than those around him. His tactics earn him scorn and derision along with a healthy income, but his thirst for cash takes a backseat when he stumbles into a case involving government-sanctioned torture of Korean citizens. On the surface, The Attorney is a David & Goliath-type tale about a lone lawyer standing up for what’s right against the power and threats of a corrupt police department and legal system. It works well enough on that front to satisfy viewers looking for a dramatically thrilling story, but the film earns […]


trailer snowpiercer

There are few directors with a track record as consistent as Bong Joon-ho, and while it could be argued that he hasn’t made all that many films yet I’ll always prefer quality over quantity. His debut feature remains his only truly average one with Memories of Murder, The Host and Mother all being near brilliant examples of genre filmmaking at its best. It’s been a long four-year wait since his last film, but Bong’s newest is finally ready to be shared with audiences. Snowpiercer is his biggest film yet with a globe-spanning storyline and an international cast. The story, based on a French graphic novel, is a post-apocalyptic tale about a train carrying the last human survivors across a landscape enduring a new ice age. A clear line exists between the classes, and as the train races along the tracks a violent uprising is brewing in the back cars. Take a ride with the Snowpiercer trailer below. (And note, this international trailer isn’t of the highest quality.)



One of the year’s most intriguing new films, Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer,has just released its first official photo, and it looks just as gritty, bleak, and claustrophobic as we would expect from a film that is set on a post-apocalyptic, world-traversing super-train that is powered by “a sacred perpetual-motion engine” that’s creeping steadily closer to an inter-class revolution. The first look features Song Kang-ho, one of the filmmaker’s perpetual stars, who definitely seems to be stuck in the Snowpiercer’s poor class. Will he help lead a revolution? Or will that be left up to some of the film’s other talented stars, like  Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer? Who knows! (We kid, the film is based on a French graphic novel called “Le Transperceneige,” and anyone who has read it obviously has some insight into just what will happen aboard Snowpiercer). The Film Stage (via ComingSoon) first posted the official image, and both outlets have also posted some gorgeous concept art from the film for your visual enjoyment. Snowpiercer is expected to hit theaters sometime this summer.


Snow Piercer artwork

Whether due to coincidence or collusion, 2013 is the year three of South Korea’s best film directors will premiere their English language debuts. Kim Jee-woon’s The Last Stand will hit screens first in January, while Park Chan-wook’s Stoker will follow suit a few months later. Both films look to exist firmly in their director’s respective wheelhouse leaving Bong Joon-ho‘s Snow Piercer as far more of an unknown entity. One of the biggest questions has now been answered though as The Weinstein Company has reportedly picked up distribution rights for the film in North America, the UK and a few other English-speaking regions. No official release date has been set, but Deadline seems to believe a Summer 2013 premiere is to be expected. Snow Piercer is based on a French graphic novel called Transperceneige and plays out almost exclusively aboard a futuristic locomotive. The world has become an iced-over post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the only real safety is on this train which is constantly in motion. The last vestiges of humanity live aboard distinctly divided along class lines, but rumors of a rebellion from the lower decks reach the one-percenters living above and threaten to derail mankind’s last hope.


Thirst Park Chan-wook

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis: Father Sang-hyeon (Song Kang-ho) is searching for ways to help his flock, but when a failed medical experiment leaves him with a thirst for blood and a craving for life’s more carnal desires he finds serving the Lord may no longer be an option. Complicating things further is a young woman named Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin) whose plea for help leads to seduction, murder and a threat to his new lifestyle. Director Park Chan-wook‘s last Korean film before turning his eye towards his upcoming American debut (Stoker) is a sexy, bloody, beautifully shot and blackly comic horror film.



Headphones on. DVD player loaded. Blank page open. That’s right, folks. It’s another edition of Commentary Commentary, our weekly look at a film’s commentary track and all the amazing anecdotes and discernment that come with it. This week we’re going international for the first time here in Commentary Commentary. We’re headed all the way to South Korea and all the way back to 2006. Not exactly sure which of those two settings are further away, but we have them right here on this pressed, metal disc. This week we’re listening to Bong Joon-ho‘s commentary on his monster movie, The Host. Does he end up revealing in it how much he hates everything America stands for? Spoiler alert: he doesn’t, but I’m sure this article isn’t going to help matters. So take a look at what I learned. I suddenly have a craving for Kimchi and Soju.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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