by ChaNee, June 12, 2015

Grab a bucket of popcorn, your favorite drink, take a comfy seat and...  

Gangnam 1970

Gangnam Blues

Country: South Korea     Year: 2015     Genre: Action, Drama, Mature 

Kim Jong Dae (Lee Min Ho) and Yeong Ki (Kim Rae Won) are childhood friends who met when they both lived in an orphanage. When they came of age, they resided in a shanty home and made money by picking up paper and bottles off the street. One day their home is demolished and with nowhere else to go, they get involved with a gang led by Boss Gil Soo (Jeong Jin Yeong) to make some quick money in order to find another place to reside in. The gang has orders to break up a political rally where a brutal gang battle ensues with a rival gang. Jong Dae and Yeong Ki become separated and come face to face three years later as Jong Dae is now leading an honest life as the son of his former leader, Gil Soo, and Yeong Ki works for the powerful criminal organization, the Myeongdong-pa, where he is under the rule of Boss Yang Gi Taek (Jung Ho Bin). Jong Dae and Yeong Ki concoct a plan to become major players in the future land development of the Gangnam District due to the overpopulation in Seoul. South Korea during the 1970's. What ensues is the battle between the corrupt elite and the criminal underworld. Will the brothers survive together or go against each other for power and greed?   

I don't know much about the development of the Gangnam District so I can't speak on if the movie portrayed an accurate account of that era but what I do know is director Yoo Ha made this very enjoyable for me. Lee Min Ho did a great job in his first film lead but I stayed for Kim Rae Won. Enough said! This movie is high in action scenes. It is violent but the scale of too much will have to be left up to the viewer. I was okay with the level but the namjachingu (boyfriend) felt it could have had more. (Really?) And our chingu (friend) felt it could have had less. So it's split across the board for us. The movie did fail in portraying the 70's. Honestly, I forgot that this was an era movie. The movie followed the basic storyline of politics, corruption, gang wars, revenge and betrayal but was placed in a package with nonstop action and occasional doses of morality concerning family and friendship.   

The Con Artists

The Technicians 

Country: South Korea     Year: 2014     Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller 

The Technicians are a crafty and elite trio consisting of Ji Hyeok (Kim Woo Bin) - a well known and wanted safe cracker, Koo In (Go Chang Seok) - the loveable counterfeiter, and genius hacker - Jong Bae (Lee Hyun Woo). The trio sets off to pull off a jewelry heist at a high-end boutique owed by President Jo (Kim Yeong Cheol) while the President is in search of a professionally skilled safe cracker that can assist him in his ploy to steal millions from Korean customs. The robbery brings the trio to the aid of President Jo along with the truth of how President Jo is connected to a certain technician's past.   

This movie is an enjoyable watch but could have been soo much better. It had humor, action, a questionable romance, 3 lovable main characters and a walking men's catalog. If you don't like the movie, you will definitely take away some possible clothing styles for the men in your life whether it's father, brother, or husband. If you are watching this strictly for Woo Bin, then you will be thoroughly satisfied. I am not sure if the director was trying to create an Ocean's Eleven or The Thieves vibe but if he was - it failed. There were a few things wrong with this movie such as the pace being slow, the storytelling was a bit long-winded, the bromance of our trio could have been more defined and they could have kept the hint of romance out of the story. Even so, that doesn't deter you from enjoying the movie. It still has heart mainly due to the likable main characters. You root for them and enjoy seeing what there is to see from their relationships, especially between Ji Hyeok and Koo In.

Tabloid Truth

Country: South Korea     Year: 2014     Genre: Drama  

Woo Gon (Kim Kang Woo), a novice entertainment manager, and Mi Jin (Go Won Hee), a budding actress, are set to take the world by storm until a vicious rumor about Mi Jin being intimately involved with a married politician (Ahn Sung Ki) is sent as part of the mysterious tip sheet that is sold as digital information to paid subscribers. Woo Gon is determined to stop the rumor before Mi Jin's career and image are damaged but the pressure is too much for Mi Jin and she commits suicide. Now Woo Gin is more determined to find out the "who" behind the rumors and the "why".   

Tabloid Truth addresses the modern age issue of tabloid and digital culture - the destruction it causes when half truths or lies are reported for entertainment, political or other reasons. After watching the movie, what I learnt from it is: "No matter how many times you get knocked down, just get back up and fight until you get what you want." Trust me, after seeing how many times Woo Gin got knocked down, you will get why I quoted that. This movie does a good job bringing to light the destruction of tabloid and digital culture but it loses its way by concentrating more on the theatricality than on the realism of the situation. However, it manages to get its point across. The pace of the film doesn't disappoint. There is constant action, finding evidence, researching, questioning, failing and then it starts all over again. So there's never a dull moment. The actors do a wonderful job. The more I see Kim Kang Woo, the more I anticipate his next projects. His emotional level is awesome and throw in Go Chang Seok (Baek Moon) for the humor and there is a nice balance between intensity and calmness.(Total coincidence he is featured twice in the recommendations along with Jeong Jin Yeong (President Park))

If you have any suggestions about movies that I should add to my "watch list" please feel free to message me on my page @ChaNee.

If you are interested in sharing your movie recommendations, please contact @Kikimorka.