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Archive for June, 2012

TKFF Tale of 2 sisters

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Toronto Korean Film Festival 2012

A Tale of Two Sisters

Starring Kim Kap-su, Yum Jung-ah, Lim Su-jeong and Moon Guen-young

Written and Directed by Kim Jee-Woon

After bursting on to the scene back in the late nineties with The Quiet Family (1998) and the Foul King (2000), director Kim Jee-Woon’s first international success came with A Tale of Two Sisters in 2003. This film has personally been avoiding me for a while, despite the fact that I actually OWN a copy of the DVD and for some reason it’s never jumped to the top consideration for movies in the pile of other contenders. But thanks to TKFF I was able to see it not only on the theater screen at Innis but also on a beautiful 35mm print. And I have to tell you I’m so glad I waited.

A Tale of Two Sisters starts with the return of Soo-mi…

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TKFF 2012 – Save the Green Planet! Review (Kirk Haviland)

Entertainment Maven

Toronto Korean Film Festival 2012

Save the Green Planet!

Starring Shin Ha-kyun, Baek Yun-shik, Hwang Jeong-min and Lee Jae-yong

Written and Directed by Jang Joon-hwan

TIFF Midnight Madness veteran Save the Green Planet closes out Sci-Fi night at the inaugural TKFF. Jang Joon-hwan’s bizarre and surreal abduction black comedy has been garnering accolades for years on the festival circuit and seems to be the perfect companion for the opening film on Sci-Fi night, Invasion of Alien Bikini. Green planet also brings mental illness and possible delusion into the mix to further muddle the issue.

Lee Byeong-gu (Ha-kyun) is a troubled man who is convinced aliens live amongst us and that he is the only one who can protect us from the oncoming onslaught. After recruiting his spouse/girlfriend Su-ni (Jeong-min) into helping him, he drugs and kidnaps prominent businessman Kang Man-shik (Yun-shik), convinced he is really alien in disguise. Byeong-gu hypothesizes…

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TAD Summer Screenings 2012 – The Pact Review (Kirk Haviland)

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TAD Summer Screenings 2012

The Pact

Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper van Dien, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins and Agnes Bruckner

Written and Directed by Nicholas McCarthy


The second half of the first night of TAD’s summer screenings brought us the Sundance hit The Pact. Billed as a creepy supernatural house based horror, The Pact hits a lot of similar notes as this year’s Lovely Molly did. But while both films deliver strong performances from their female leads, does The Pact succeed where Lovely Molly faltered?

Nicole (Bruckner) is attempting to prepare for the funeral of her late estranged mother. Nicole is in her mother’s house as she calls her sister Annie (Lotz) for help, yet Annie wants absolutely nothing to do with the funeral or her mother’s house. Later while talking to her young daughter via laptop Nicole notices weird things occurring in the house that appear to…

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TAD Summer Screenings 2012 – Juan of the Dead Review (Kirk Haviland)

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Toronto After Dark

Juan of the Dead

Starring – Alexis Diaz de Villegas, Jorge Molina, Andrea Duro, Andros Perugorria, Jazz Vila and Eliecer Ramirez

Written and Directed by Alejandro Brugués

Back on September 2011, during an afternoon TIFF screening of all things, is when I was first introduced to Juan de los Muertos (Juan of the Dead). Juan is the first genre film to ever come out of Cuba and was developed with the support of the Cuban government. As you may have guessed by the title, Juan is most definitely a zombie comedy, and it’s one of the funniest that I’ve ever seen.

Juan (Diaz de Villegas) is a hustler living in Havana who is deliriously happy to simply play out his days exerting as little effort as he can as long as he’s stocked up on food and rum. His make-shift raft is where we are first introduced…

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TKFF Mother

Entertainment Maven

Toronto Korean Film Festival 2012


Starring – Kim Hae-ja, Won Bin, Jin Goo and Yoon Je-moon

Written by Park Eun-kyo and Bong Joon-ho

Directed by Bong Joon-ho

One of Korea’s new masters of cinema is the incomparable Bong Joon-ho. Starting with his breakthrough in 2003 Memories of Murder, a film I have yet to see but many consider to still be his best, then the international smash The Host in 2006, Joon-ho has shown range and courage as a filmmaker who is clearly not shy of breaking new ground with each film. 2009’s Cannes and TIFF critical smash hit Mother is no different, and the TKFF offers a unique chance to see Mother back on the big screen as part of its inaugural lineup.

Mother begins with a frazzled woman, the mother of the title (Hae-ja), as she walks towards the camera across a wheat field. Upon arriving at…

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TKFF Invasion of Alien

Entertainment Maven

Toronto Korean Film Festival 2012

Invasion of Alien Bikini

Starring Ha Eun-jung and Hong Young-geun.

Directed by O Yeong-du

TKFF’s Sci-fi night starts with the first true Korean Independent film of the festival, Invasion of Alien Bikini. Shot for only 15,000 dollars and using minimal locations, cast, and crew, Bikini is, at a brisk 75 minutes, a smaller, more intimate film rather than a sprawling Sci-fi epic.

Young-gun (Young-geun) is the self-proclaimed ‘City Protector’, a wannabe super hero, ala ‘Kick-Ass’, that goes around fighting crime after dark using his passable Muay Thai skills to protect the innocent and a obviously fake mustache to protect his identity. One night Young-gun overhears the cries of a young lady being chased by three men. After interceding on her behalf and beating up these men, and after they desperately attempt to tell him that she is not as she appears, Young-gun takes the young…

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review (Kirk Haviland)

Entertainment Maven

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Starring Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Adam Brody, Connie Britton, Rob Corddry, Derek Luke and Martin Sheen

Written and Directed by Lorene Scafaria

For the second week in a row, this time coming from Entertainment One (eone), we get another piece of summer blockbuster counter programming that is a quirky oddball romantic comedy with a sci-fi twist. After last week’s time travel comedy Safety Not Guaranteed we get a film about the end of the world as it literally states in the title, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Safety was a film that worked because it didn’t get buried under its own quirkiness, can Seeking do the same?

As the film opens we discover that the world will end in 21 days due to the last attempt at derailing an inbound meteor failing. We see Dodge…

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