One of the top South Korean movies at the box office 2013 is a cool, slick, tense action thriller remake of the Hong Kong film Eye in the Sky (2007), directed by Yau Nai-Hoi (Johnny To’s longtime co-screenwriter.)
Loved the cinematography. Non stop camera movement. But very lyrical. Only shaky cam when it’s waranted. Lots of nice little character touches. Pretty much zero personal character story though which makes it mostly for genre lovers. But it moves. Very fun. And it stars a young woman who’s sensitive, caring, professional, and kicks ass. A combination rarely seen in American films.
It was co-directed by renown cinematographer, Kim Byung-seo, and Cho Ui-seok who directed the highly regarded The World of Silence (2006).
I found this film by reading the excellent film blog – http://www.koreanfilm.org/index.html from ex-pat Darcy Paquet where I check in from time to time to see what’s happening in South Korean Film. The blog has turned me on to dozens of great films including Lee Chang-dong’s OASIS (2002) – one of my favorite movies of all time. Here’s his write up on it: http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm02.html#oasis
The film played at TIFF last year to huge acclaim. Here’s link to festival write up: http://tiff.net/filmsandschedules/festival/2013/coldeyes
In the photo below – you see the stone cold psychotic and calculating baddy played by Jung Woo-sung who heads up a brutal robbery team and the heroin of the story, the rookie recruit on a surveillance team played by Han Hyo-joo. What I loved about the bad guy was that he was being persecuted by his own crime organization. He was just a cog in the machine.
And here’s the top ten box office in South Korea for 2013 where I find it interesting that only 2 U.S. films made it to the list:
Just watched the fantastic, Oscar nominated, Morgan Neville’s 20 FEET FROM STARDOM and was knocked out by this performance by back-up singer Lisa Fisher featured in the movie. This must be the best live version of the song the Stones ever did. The song verges on total collapse several times, seems drugged out and slow, but picks up pace as Lisa carries it by herself practically and makes it soar. She’s maybe even better than the Mary Clayton original recording. She blends perfectly with Mick at the end which she explains in the documentary as tuning into what he was doing on the night. Don’t miss the notes she hits around 3:00. She’s a Goddess. When she makes a grand Diva exit the song might as well be over. Killer Rock n Roll Movie.
MICHAEL STEINBERG’S TOP 10 MOVIE LIST for 2013
It’s tricky sometimes to predict what movie you’ll want to see in years to come. But the ones you end up seeing again and again down the line are the movies you should have picked when they came out. They’re often not the ones that win awards. Or the ones you think you like at the time. They are the ones that live. They are alive. So my main criteria for this year’s list – What will I want to watch again and again years from now?
1. AMERICAN HUSTLE – Best director in the world right now. Seen it twice so far and can’t wait to see it twice more soon. Why? Behavior. Predicament. Layers of story telling. Humor. History. Music. Stars. Bravura filmmaking. Everything.
2. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET – DiCaprio scorches the screen. As entertaining as anything this year. Can’t wait to see again. Why did I lend my screener?
3. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR – unique, super well acted love story with some awkward looking marathon sex scenes that I won’t complain about too much. Must see again.
4. LONE SURVIVOR – Took me by surprise. Burns with passion. I saw a total indictment of the war in Afghanistan but you can read as Red State or Blue. That’s its genius. If he hadn’t just done BATTLESHIP everyone would be taking this one way more seriously. Kudos to WGA who gave it a nomination.
5. OBLIVION – Best sci-fi pop corn of the year. My favorite kind of movie in many respects. Of course I will watch again just like I’ll watch THE MINORITY REPORT over and over.
6. GRAVITY – Over hyped but the time flew by watching it.
7. BLUE JASMINE – Woody.
8. INSIDE LEWYN DAVIS – What happened to the guy who had the cursed luck to open for Dylan at the Gaslight? Now we know. Any Coen Brothers film is good for multiple views.
9. 42 – Came too early in the year to get noticed but was outstanding. Suspect I’ll want to see again.
10. FRANCIS HA – Loved the screwball dialogue. Gretta is wacky adorable. Though the first season of GIRLS is similar and I’d watch that again first, I think. Time will tell.
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
12 YEARS A SLAVE
PAIN AND GAIN
ALL IS LOST
THIS IS THE END
WORLD WAR Z
HAVEN’T SEEN YET BUT WANT TO
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
THE GREAT BEAUTY
SHORT TERM 12
THE KINGS OF SUMMER
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTY MITTY