After our first two issues highlighted our staff's favorite romantic comedies and mystery dramas, this issue will feature different genres and themes. For this month, MDL staff will introduce you to their favorite movies as well as explain what made those titles so dear to them.
Are you ready for a varied cinema experience from MDL staff members? Before we get started, I have to mention that picking only one favorite movie out of our long lists was a very hard thing to do!. Enjoy!
rosefae72 (Editor) Recommends:
When I was asked to pick my favorite film I thought "Oh no! Which film to pick?!" because I have more than a handful of favorites. But rather than pick one of my favorites that has meaning and depth, I chose to pick a film that simply makes me smile. I'll be the first to admit that this movie is a bit cheesy with a bit of over-acting involved, but I think that is its charm. It never claims to be a movie worthy of critical acclaim. It is simply an entertaining and enjoyable movie to watch. Sometimes I just need to watch a movie that doesn't deal with serious topics (even if the movie is a comedy) and High School Debut tops the list of movies I like to watch just for silliness sake. I love watching the relationship between Yoh and Haruna develop: it's sweet and innocent which is rarely seen in many romantic comedies. It's also a movie that anyone in any age group can watch. And yes, I also read the manga and liked how the movie was done despite having to cut out a lot (who can fit a whole manga story in 2 hours anyway?) and rearranging things a bit. The cast is adorable and each time I watch it, I laugh at the same parts. I would definitely recommend this for when you need a break from some heavy-duty film or dramatic stories.
AmandaMarta (Trailer Staff) recommends:
Ever heard of the saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining"? Ah. This film is what this saying is all about which brings all the ingredients that I will need to make a perfect psychological film. A disturbing, mind boggling, and depressing film is directed by one of my favorite Japanese directors, Tetsuya Nakashima. The thrilling story of a grieving teacher turned cold-blooded avenger with a twisty master plan to pay back the students who were responsible for her daughter's death. Confessions are made one by one among the main characters. This director explores the concept of how innocent children become evil teenagers set by their ways with no conscience. All have various traumatic backgrounds including: some seek attention because they are abandoned or physically abused by their parents, some become vulnerable owing to their overprotective parents, some feel lonely because they are nerds neglected and bullied by their peers, some commit suicide or other crimes because they follow suit. Some tragedies are also attributed to the internet which allows people to gossip anonymously, the mass media which places too much emphasis on violence, and the law which exempts teenage murderers from being punished.
The eerily scenes along with classical music with a hypnotizing female voice creates a shocking contrast to the disturbing scenes. In total, Confessions is a darkly disturbing, visually stunning, and thought-provoking film which explores the dark nature of humans. The direction, story, and acting is all superb. This brings to the best part of this graphically detailed film- you don't know what to expect. All in all, the Far East market is the master of originality in terror, horror and psychological films which this one greatly highlights. This is an equally matched film for those who love dark hearted and revenge-themed movies. Highly Recommended!
Hessa (Approval Moderator) recommends:
Deranged tells the story of Jae Hyuk (Kim Myung Min), a former professor with a doctorate in biochemistry. He's currently working as a pharmaceutical sales representative after losing his life savings and his job - after getting some bad investment advice from his brother, Jae Pil (Kim Dong Wan). Suddenly a series of dead bodies are found floating in the Han River, the public is shocked to discover that the deaths are related to a fatal outbreak of virus-infected mutant parasite that can control the human brain. Jae Hyuk suspects his family is showing symptoms of the disease and races with time to find an antidote.
I've already watched this movie twice; once alone with my sister, and once again with my whole family(including cousins and aunts.). Almost everybody liked this movie and I enjoyed re-watching it over again even though I already knew what was going to happen. Truth be told, I wouldn't mind watching it a third time. But with this movie I realized that somehow all of my favorite movies tend to be about disasters, mass destruction, and death. I really like watching how desperate people get to survive or save their loved ones. And in this movie, it clearly shows you how desperate the lead character is trying to save his family. Moreover, I liked Kim Myung Min's acting in the movie, and afterwards I noticed that he is the same actor who played the role of my favorite character in “Beethoven Virus”. So if you have a screwed up mind just like me or if you simply enjoy mystery/thriller movies, I'd highly recommend this movie. It is a great weekend movie to watch with family, friends, or even by yourself. Just don't forget your popcorn!
Cheer (Approval Moderator and Editor) recommends:
This is entirely different from what my fellow staff members picked. Since I can only pick one movie, Seven Samurai is indisputably my favorite, though Harakiri is a close second. Normally I dislike hearing the word "epic", because most of the time it's misused. However, in the case of Seven Samurai, this is the very essence of an epic film.
When I say Seven Samurai, the words 'Japanese masterpiece' instantly comes to mind. Equipped with the finest legendary Japanese actors (Shimura Takashi, Toshiro Mifune, Chiaki Minoru,...), Akira Kurosawa made a mythical film about seven Ronin samurai who devoted their lives to save a peasants’ village from cruel, violent bandits. When watching this, you will definitely recognize some plot elements that were used in later film productions. This is without a doubt, one of the richest, most powerful films ever made. Do not worry about the black and white era, because Seven Samurai survived and will continue to surpass its time frame. This is where the phrase “Old but Gold” is put to good use.
This film contains the richest characterization ever written; each and every character is so intriguing in its own way. This is where filmmaking reached its epitome, Kurosawa’s splendid camera angles, masterful directing techniques, mind-blowing cinematography and ravishing art style, will have you glued to the screen. Despite the fact that it's 3 hours and a half long, it'll pass by so quickly because you'll be on the edge of your seat the entire time.
I usually don't give 10’s but this film snatched that perfect score without any second thought. In short, Seven Samurai is one of the most influential films of all time, and it should be viewed by any fan of cinema.
Elisabetta (Editor) Recommends:
Wow, so nostalgic.. This movie was my very first, awkward step into Korean filmography, which soon led me to jumping into the abyss of dramaland.
Widely successful in Korea itself, it’s a love story that is quite different from your usual dramaland fix.
The boy is neither your multi-talented, proud CEO, nor is he the coolest guy in the school. He is a normal, though bright, college student. And a total slacker. The story is told from his perspective, which is fun, because you hardly ever can watch a rom-com from a male’s perspective.
The girl is not a typical, poor angel either. She’s cheeky, abusive and for one reason or another, she often ends her nights drunk and depressed. Because of her nothing-to-lose attitude, she has no respect for propriety and tends to drag people out of their comfort zone. Especially the poor boy, whom she loves to boss around. Still she is beautiful enough to be chased after.
Due to a coincidence or fate they meet under ridiculous circumstances - let me assure you, it’s far from a meet-cute- and end up doing a lot of crazy things together. Some of them are completely nuts, some awkwardly amusing and some very touching and beautiful.
First time I watched it, I liked it, but it was too weird in too many ways - it was my first experience of Korean humor after all. Years and many drama titles after I stumbled across it again. This time round, I finally understood how truthful and unique that movie is.
So if you're looking for a refreshing love-story that is at the same time touching and entertaining, you will do well with this movie.
Nana87 (Approval Moderator) Recommends:
If I have to choose one of my favorite movies, it would have to be this one. First of all, I am a huge fan of Daniel Henney so it was a must see for me. The man is just gorgeous. Not only has his acting improved, but you get to see him play a villain in this movie.
The Spy: Undercover Operation is about a husband who is a secret agent, who hides his job from his wife. His wife wants to start a family but he is always busy with work and his unexpected business trips. The wife works as a flight attendant and in one of her trips she ends up meeting a handsome man named Ricky. Coincidentally, the husband is on a mission at the same place and sees her. He then has to juggle both his mission, as well as protecting his wife from being taken by another man. Will she fall for this handsome man’s charms? You will have to watch to find out.
I definitely recommend this one if you’re in the mood for a fun action-packed comedy. All of the characters, including the supporting roles are fun to watch. The whole story is just hilarious, it's perfect if you’re looking for something light and want to laugh. Hope you guys enjoy this movi as much as I did.
Sleepninja (Forum Moderator) recommends:
What I like most about Adrenaline Drive is that it is not your typical comedy. The humor is not over-the-top or in your face and, in some scenes, it hits you unexpectedly. This movie starts out with two individuals that are fairly meek and average. Due to unexpected circumstances, they end up on the run together. As they run from the yakuza that are pursuing them, they discover courage and a zest for life that they never realized they were missing. If you are in the mood for something different and fun, please give this lesser-known movie a watch! :) You'll probably see a familiar face or two if you watch Jdramas. One of the yakuza members is in numerous popular dramas like Bloody Monday and Don Quixote.
Geanina (Trailer Staff) recommends:
I should begin by warning you: this movie will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea, nor an easy watch. On the contrary! Following the tradition of new South Korean cinema, OASIS is disturbing and unconventional to the point of aggression. Yet 12 years after its release, it remains one of the most amazing movies I’ve seen and one of the very finest films to come out of South Korea in the past decade.
Apparently a depressing tale of misery, OASIS is actually a love story told in a brutally honest way. It's a melodrama rooted in the relationship between Jong Du, a social misfit with undefined learning difficulties, just released from prison, and Gong Ju ("princess" in Korean), the daughter of the man he was convicted of killing. A woman with cerebral palsy, she is rendered almost powerless by her illness; she can't speak, make herself understood, or walk. On the other hand, he is a sociopath, childlike and unemployable; with no sense of boundaries, a man so obnoxious and clueless that while he's in prison his family moves and leaves no forwarding address. They meet. He rapes her. Thus begins an improbable romance that seems to meet their particular needs: he provides sex, companionship and a way to get out of the house for her, and she is a perfect match: being unable to avoid him or argue with him, she gives him a place where he is not constantly afoul of other people's rules that he doesn't understand. But make no mistake, even though their odd bond brings them briefly out of the dark, this is no fairy tale of triumph over adversity. Their relationship is of course not favored and gets misunderstood, so OASIS makes us look at the hypocrisy of modern Korean life, at the harsh reality of a discriminating society, with its assumptions and prejudices, and in the same time manages to make us uncomfortable not only with what we see on the screen (mind you, very disturbing indeed!), but with what we might feel about it inside.
The acting by the two leads is amazing and has garnered much praise and several awards. They are brilliant together: Sol Kyung Gu 's characterisation of a wayward sociopath learning to love is tremendously inspired and Moon So–ri's performance in portraying a severely handicapped woman is outstanding, to the point one could wonder whether the actress herself had been born with this condition or not. One of my favorite Korean directors, Lee Chang Dong gives us a powerful, raw, dark story, with no comfortable closure. His movie is a humanitarian plea for tolerance and in the same time indicts the indifference, cruelty and hypocrisy of a world that treats its misfits as inconvenient, half-witted children who are easily exploited and abused. Not your usual love story, but one that you won’t easily forget!
Skye-N-Rain (Creator and Co-Admin) recommends:
When Cheer first asked me if I was interested in mentioning my favorite movie on here, I jumped at the opportunity. Soon afterwards, I started regretting it. It's REALLY hard picking just one movie, especially since I give out a lot of 10's. That being said, eventually I decided on The Warlords (though I feel as if I cheated on the other top films on my list. Sorry Space Travelers, Shinigami no Seido)
So what made The Warlords so amazing for me?
1) The cast is absolutely amazing. It has one of my most favorite actors Takeshi Kaneshiro (who is half Japanese, half Taiwanese, and 100% pure awesomesauce). He speaks both Japanese and Mandarin and as a result has starred in both Japanese films as well as Chinese films. In addition to Kaneshiro, it also stars Andy Lau and Jet Li, both of whom need no introduction.
2) I absolutely loved the bromance in this movie, as well as the serious themes introduced in this movie. It's been a couple of years since I last watched this movie so my recollection is a bit hazy, however, I remember how I loved that it shows that people are not black or white. There is a lot of good and bad within people.
I could go on and on about this movie, but i'll spare you. Check out this film if you love films that include brotherhood and war.
Hope you enjoyed October's edition of MDL Staff Picks of the Month. Which of our picks are you planning on watching? Let us know your favorite films in the comment below! <3 <3 <3