As Harvey Weinstein decides American audiences aren't smart enough for Snowpiercer, Daily Grindhouse writer Ric Meyers takes a poke at The Weinstein Company's troubled history with Asian Cinema.
The crowdsourced film 26 Years opened in first place in Korean movie theaters this weekend. The movie languished in development for four years, before finally being completed by collecting donations online - when fundraising closed on October 20 this year, 21,233 contributors had kicked in 747,790,000 Won (about 690,000 USD). The contributors' names are listed in the movie's ending credits. The movie's controversial subject matter involves a plot to assassinate former S. Korean president Chun Doo-hwan, in reprisal of his role in the Gwangju Massacre of 1980. The movie is based on Korean comics artist 강풀 Kang Full's web comic 26 Years, serialized from April 2006 to October 2006. (Some links in Korean)
Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
When John Van Antwerp MacMurray was dispatched to Asia in 1925 as the American Envoy to the Republic of China, he brought a Kodak motion picture camera with him.
Shin Sang-ok (1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
Asian Horror Movies.com. 100's of free, streaming video, full movies, which have English subtitles. Index of titles updated regularly. Japanese, Korean, Thai. Includes a wide variety of films from an eccentric fantasy like 100% Wool to a psychological thriller like Angel Dust. [more inside]
"The Korean Saving Private Ryan," or Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004). Reviews. Plot synopsis (spoilers). Box Office: Over 20% of South Korea saw this film.
Miguk - A film documentary on the life of an expat English teacher in Korea. If you've done it, this will bring back memories. If you're thinking of doing it, this is worth watching. If, like me, you're in Korea now, watching it on 'film' somehow dignifies the experience. Two thumbs up. [.wmv format, 16 segments]
Just how crazy is Kim Jong-Il? The North Korean dictator is also an uncompromising movie producer whose casting tactics make Bowfinger look tame. In In 1978, the North Korean dictator kidnapped his favorite director from South Korea, and forced him to make a terrible, Communist-themed monster movie called "Pulgasari." Keep in mind, the Bush administration considers this guy saner and more level-headed than Saddam Hussein.(registration req'd)