Koreanfilm.org Critics Poll

2004 · 2005 · 2006

  Why goldfish? Fans of Korean cinema will notice, if they watch closely, that practically every single Korean film that was ever made has a fishtank in it somewhere. From Shiri to The Power of Kangwon Province to the granddaddy fishtank of them all found in Raging Years, fish and fishtanks appear with a frequency that seems far too great to be mere coincidence. I've never heard a convincing explanation for this phenomenon, but it exists, and in honor of this we will use goldfish in place of stars in our Koreanfilm.org critics poll. The following scores are based on a 5-fish scale.

These critical scores have been collected from contributors to the site or the discussion board, and are presented so that readers can get a quick range of opinions on a certain film. Of course, reducing the complexity of a full-length feature down to a mere collection of points is a huge disservice to the film, and the very short comments that go next to the scores are unlikely to help much. Also, one's opinion of a film can naturally change over time, so these scores won't reflect how well a film ages. In other words: please don't read too much into these scores, consider them just an informal conversation starter.

The Art of Fighting
Paolo Bertolin Has an extra punch that overcomes conventions. Baek+Jae=great!
James Brown Multi-tonal coming of age yarn lacks the knockout flying kick.
Darcy Paquet A somewhat bleak film that's easier to admire than to enjoy.
Mark Russell Bong Man-dae makes the best bad movie of the year (again).
Forbidden Quest
Tom Giammarco Drags a little by the end, but a good story.
Darcy Paquet Engaging and creative, but this film has serious pacing problems.
Grain in Ear
Paolo Bertolin Depressive tale crafted following "The Artsy Chinese Film Manual."
Darcy Paquet Perhaps a little too meditative, but highly memorable.
Darcy Paquet Stupid stupid stupid.
Tom Giammarco Lots of potential as a social commentary. Good casting.
Darcy Paquet Story has real potential, but directed like a cheap action flick.
The Host
James Brown Plunge into the murky depths of barely functional family relations.
Darcy Paquet More than anything, a fabulously crafted, original film.
Mark Russell Great for most, but so-so for Bong Joon-ho. A few silly scenes.
The Magicians
Paolo Bertolin Best Song Il-gon since Flower Island.
Davide Cazzaro Another outstanding confirmation of Song's talent.
Tom Giammarco I loved the style and storytelling technique.
Darcy Paquet Very touching, and tastefully crafted. Ends perfectly.
Mark Russell Very lo-fi, but a strong story. Amazing technique.
My Boss, My Teacher
Tom Giammarco Annoying. I hated it throughout its long running time.
Darcy Paquet X I've had dentist appointments that were more fun.
My Scary Girl
Darcy Paquet The power of low-budget, HD comedy.
The Peter Pan Formula
Paolo Bertolin Compelling, fascinating and disturbing: the best debut of 2004.
Darcy Paquet A moody, puzzling film with real personality.
Ssunday Seoul
Tom Giammarco Would have been better off without the second story.
Davide Cazzaro Collateral effects of Korean commercial cinema.
See You After School
Paolo Bertolin Refreshing comedy relying on Bong Tae-gyu's top-notch performance.
Darcy Paquet A refreshingly well-crafted, nuanced silly comedy.
Silk Shoes
Paolo Bertolin Seems not to know how to end, yet engaging and thought-provoking.
Darcy Paquet A nice idea that steadily loses momentum.
Woman on the Beach
Darcy Paquet Hong on a roll.
Mark Russell Best Hong film since Turning Gate. Maybe even better.

The Aggressives
Tom Giammarco Good stunts. Flat, uninteresting characters.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Almost a science fiction about Korean urbanites. Fascinating.
Darcy Paquet Has technical flair, but none of the poetry of Take Care Of My Cat.
All For Love
Tom Giammarco A cross-section of Korean society. Reminiscent of Short Cuts.
Elif Kaya Good cast but none of the stories moved me.
Darcy Paquet Completely different genre, but worthy follow-up to Memento Mori.
Another Public Enemy
Tom Giammarco Not a bad action movie but LONG. I kept checking my watch.
Elif Kaya Neither as fun nor brilliant as its prequel.
Darcy Paquet Suffers from a lack of efficiency.
Antarctic Journal
Paolo Bertolin Tries too many paths and loses its way: a wasted chance.
James Brown Overlong, but an audacious effort with spine-chilling moments.
Tom Giammarco Expected so much more. Curse of the Korean blockbusters resumes.
Adrien Gombeaud Left me cold.
Elif Kaya It is neither here nor there, lukewarm.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Should have gone the Herzog-Kinski route, perhaps?
Darcy Paquet Starts off nice, but then loses its compass.
April Snow
Davide Cazzaro Sadly enough, Hur's weakest film to date.
Adrien Gombeaud A new melodrama by one of Korean cinema's most delicate talents.
Elif Kaya Be cautious unless you like Hur or either of the stars.
Darcy Paquet An interesting film about a boring couple.
Mark Russell Beautiful, young and tragic -- a soap-opera story without depth.
Beast and the Beauty
James Brown Zany stupidity with a fuzzy center. Hinged on too few great moments.
Elif Kaya Delightful, well acted and predictable rom com.
Darcy Paquet Nice actors, but a very frustrating lack of originality.
A Bittersweet Life
Paolo Bertolin Kim's lavish visuals enriched by full-fledged dramatic consistency.
James Brown Gangsters in the arthouse turn out to be all thumbs.
Filmbrain Genre flick with lofty aspirations. Entertaining, but little more.
Tom Giammarco Stylish violence and excellent characterizations.
Elif Kaya Very stylish but trying too hard.
Kyu Hyun  Kim A box of bon-bons, with red cherry liqueur inside.
Darcy Paquet Movie to show friends who liked Old Boy.
Mark Russell Slick-looking but empty, with endless, pointless violence.
Blood Rain
Paolo Bertolin Plot-wise far-fetched, yet holds momentum thanks to its cleverness.
James Brown Well narrated but terribly grave. Required a more personable lead.
Tom Giammarco Lots of care went into sets & costumes/Good story but wrong actor.
Elif Kaya Gory, great sets & costumes, no suspense though.
Kyu Hyun  Kim A solid period mystery, not as absorbing as it should be.
Darcy Paquet An exquisite-looking meal that leaves you with a stomachache.
Blossom Again
James Brown Thoughtful, but, just like complex mathematics, quite impenetrable.
Darcy Paquet An introspective and surprising melodrama that runs deep.
Blue Swallow
James Brown A great story told well, but overly ambitious as blockbuster stuff.
Darcy Paquet A film with obvious strengths and puzzling weaknesses.
Mark Russell Great visuals and f/x, but TV-drama depth.
A Bold Family
Tom Giammarco Schizophrenic film. Didn't expect much, wound up loving it.
Darcy Paquet Not plagiarized from Goodbye Lenin, but not a match for it either.
The Bow
Paolo Bertolin Feels like a mild "best of" for festivals and Western audiences.
Tom Giammarco A weak mix of any two KKD films.
Elif Kaya The Kim we know and love.
Darcy Paquet Kim Ki-duk on autopilot.
Tom Giammarco Enjoyable low-budget sci-fi but its vision was beyond its budget.
Adrien Gombeaud Now I know why Terminator was not shot with a handycam.
Tom Giammarco X The ending is so confusing, but just be glad it ends.
Cracked Eggs & Noodles
Tom Giammarco Good acting by leads/interesting development of dad/son relations.
Darcy Paquet Ugh. Really rubbed me the wrong way.
Crying Fist
Paolo Bertolin Loses height with the overemphatic finale. Choi and Ryoo are a KO.
Tom Giammarco Ryoo Seung-beom's acting elevates the film from good to great.
Adrien Gombeaud Hurts so good.
Elif Kaya Wonderful storytelling, highly recommended.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Ryoo Brothers deliver a sucker punch. Seung-beom is amazing.
Darcy Paquet Gives the boxing film genre a punch in the ribs.
Paolo Bertolin Ridiculously cliched and way, way too long...
Adam Hartzell Legs is something this film does NOT have.
James Brown Memorably wacky & colourful with a stunningly gorgeous finale.
Tom Giammarco Would like to see this beautiful film again but with the sound off.
Darcy Paquet The biggest disappointment of 2005, despite its visuals.
Empress Chung
Tom Giammarco Disney cliches meet dusty legend. OK for very young children.
Darcy Paquet A well-intentioned South-North co-production that lacks energy.
Feathers in the Wind (Git)
Paolo Bertolin Light as a feather, a small film often touched by grace.
James Brown Lovingly crafted, visually splendid, sensual & engaging.
Davide Cazzaro Definitely one of the best Korean films produced in 2004.
Tom Giammarco Beautiful images, expertly paced story and interesting characters.
Elif Kaya Calm, romantic and poetic, a must see.
Darcy Paquet Korea's freshest screen romance in a very long time.
Mark Russell Nice little film, but nothing special.
Geochilmaru: The Showdown
James Brown Energetic but lacking the striking vision of a hot new talent.
Tom Giammarco Fun update of old martial arts films. Great fighting sequences.
Adrien Gombeaud Alive and kicking!
Kyu Hyun  Kim Only Koreans could make this wickedly charming slugfest.
Darcy Paquet Engaging, fun, exciting low-budget martial arts.
A Great Actor
Paolo Bertolin MASTERPIECE!!!
Green Chair
Paolo Bertolin Asks the right questions in the proper manner. Heart-warming sex.
Davide Cazzaro Good development of the story and fresh ideas. A little long.
Filmbrain Daring, unconventional, sexy, and full of unexpected pleasures.
Tom Giammarco This would have been much better as a short film. Last 20 mins good.
Adam Hartzell Park peeps behind the Green Chair and finds more Park particulars.
Elif Kaya Entertaining with lots of messages.
Darcy Paquet Irreverent and obnoxious, but still very touching.
If You Were Me 2
Tom Giammarco Arguably better than the original. Tightly focused storytelling.
Darcy Paquet A well-formed omnibus (which is rare). Jung Ji-woo's is my favorite.
Innocent Steps
Tom Giammarco Disappointing and cliche.
Darcy Paquet I wish the screenwriter had just let them dance.
Jenny, Juno
Tom Giammarco Treats the subject of early-teen pregnancy much too lightly.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Good Lord. Makes Blue Lagoon look like Umbrellas of Cherbourg .
Elif Kaya Stylish, feel good film, not much else is there though.
Darcy Paquet I was enjoying this movie, and then I started to hate it.
King and the Clown
James Brown Balances Dae Jang Geum's melodrama with the slapstick of Duelist.
Tom Giammarco Some great acting and excellent costumes/set.
Darcy Paquet Engaging script, great acting, visually and cinematically flat.
Little Brother
Paolo Bertolin A cutthroat premise developed with laudable sensitivity.
Tom Giammarco If you like tearjerkers, this one is for you.
Long and Winding Road
Tom Giammarco Could have been so much better. Lacked emotional impact.
Paolo Bertolin Formulaic characters and contrived plot. Obnoxious and trivial.
James Brown Tiresome 'sisterhood' reworking of Hi Dharma.
Tom Giammarco Need to turn off your brain to get through this comedy.
Elif Kaya Entertaining, but don't expect much.
Paolo Bertolin Typical Korean woman-basher: it's all mum's fault! Cho overdoes it.
Tom Giammarco Excellent performances shine in this touching story.
Elif Kaya Your basic life melodrama with a good lead, nothing new here.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Surprisingly tough, too bad the climax turns overly manipulative.
Murder, Take One
James Brown Sparkling, super-polished genre blender throws in a spanner too many.
Tom Giammarco Intense acting by Shin. Like Law & Order but with fresh ideas.
Darcy Paquet Lots of great moments, but lacks the form of Jang's better films.
My Boyfriend is Type-B
Tom Giammarco Couldn't stand the characters. No chemistry between the leads.
Elif Kaya Lacklustre rom com, only if you like any of the lead actors.
Darcy Paquet How about that Lotte product placement?
Possible Changes
Davide Cazzaro Former assistant to Hong Sang-soo tried to make a Hong film.
Tom Giammarco Somber, depressing, stagnant and pointless.
Darcy Paquet Maybe I missed something. I don't think so.
The President's Last Bang
Paolo Bertolin Im knows how to dare, and his ambition and bravery deserve praise.
James Brown Hip, intrepid piece but its irreverence is just a touch too zealous.
Davide Cazzaro Witty, provocative and mordent. A "must not miss" Korean film.
Filmbrain Brilliant political satire that easily ranks with the best.
Adrien Gombeaud A solid political thriller and a delightful satire.
Elif Kaya Great visuals, wonderful cast, a must see.
Darcy Paquet Baek Yoon-shik is a god, and Im Sang-soo is a master.
Mark Russell Maybe not great history, but a great film. Dark and funny.
Boris Trbic Undressing fascism can be fun. Gloomy and entertaining.
Princess Aurora
James Brown Gorily promising, but marred by a cop out ending.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Left-wing (?) pro-death penalty (?) vigilante (?!) thriller (?!?).
Darcy Paquet Campy, but played too seriously to be any fun.
Reading or Feeding
Tom Giammarco Complex story expertly handled by director/Interesting camera work.
Red Eye
Tom Giammarco An embarrassment to ghosts everywhere.
Kyu Hyun  Kim No Oriental Express, but I rather fancied the train setting.
Darcy Paquet Nice cast, but none of the emotions in the film hit home.
The Red Shoes
Tom Giammarco Kim Hye-su is excellent/Plot has many holes but manages to scare.
Elif Kaya Stylish, moody, and artistic.
Kyu Hyun  Kim The shoes are, uh, pink. At least Kim Hye-su dances to her tune.
Darcy Paquet An A for style, a C- for enlightened creativity.
Davide Cazzaro Nothing very new but Bae Chang-ho shows his talent and experience.
Tom Giammarco Great cinematography & story. Not perfect due to lead actress.
Darcy Paquet Its slow-building emotional power is its greatest strength.
Sad Movie
Elif Kaya Only if you like melodrama.
Darcy Paquet Glossy packaging, but feels very calculated.
Shadowless Sword
Darcy Paquet Meat-and-potatoes martial arts. At least the pacing is tight.
Mark Russell Trite story, lame martial arts. Goofiest hair of all time.
She's On Duty
Elif Kaya Don't expect what you see on the DVD cover.
Short Time
James Brown Overlong, but hilarious at times and ultimately earns viewer empathy.
Tom Giammarco Rather bland comedy. Choi Seong-Guk is surprisingly good here.
Darcy Paquet Trashy, but surprisingly fun. Cutest kid in 2005.
Spying Cam
Paolo Bertolin Korean political background, yet universal ethics in a great film.
Darcy Paquet Made with passion but not quite as much precision.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
James Brown Powerful, even if somewhat mired in clever, expressive abstraction.
Davide Cazzaro Is the "PCW-style" at risk of becoming a victim of its own success?
Tom Giammarco Great film despite the simple black-and-white characters.
Elif Kaya Weakest of the trilogy but still a good watch.
Darcy Paquet Quirky, introspective, harrowing. A bit lopsided, but it works.
Mark Russell PCW's talents wasted on his weakest film to date. Silly and shallow.
Tale of Cinema
Paolo Bertolin An utter disappointment. Is Hong running out of inspiration?
Adrien Gombeaud One of the few inteligent films on cinema.
Elif Kaya The Hong you know and love.
Darcy Paquet Do I detect a tiny glimpse of optimism in this film?
Mark Russell ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo... Love that zoom. Dull and uninspired.
This Charming Girl
Davide Cazzaro Probably the best debut of 2004. Let's keep an eye on Lee Yoon-ki.
Filmbrain Small, quiet, subtle. The kind of film we need to see more of.
Tom Giammarco Amazing film giving intricate details of the life of one woman.
Adrien Gombeaud She walks in beauty.
Adam Hartzell Not a jumped-up postal girl, but an intriguing character study.
Elif Kaya Very effective in a quiet way, brilliant actress.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Finally, a filmic antidote to the "YOU WANNA DIE?" Sassy Girls.
Darcy Paquet A quiet but strong film. Kim Ji-soo is worth following.
James Brown Solid multi-national chase movie collapses under woeful histrionics.
Darcy Paquet Good try, but this is a film without a soul.
Mark Russell Respectable looking, even if nothing makes any sense.
The Unforgiven
Elif Kaya Good story, great acting but an uncomfortable, bad rhythm.
Kyu Hyun  Kim His military buddy is not okay and that's real Korean man for ya.
Tom Giammarco Good drama, few scares.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Sotto voce, but thoughtful, disturbing and ultimately very sad.
Darcy Paquet Has many flaws, but the core story is interesting.
A Wacky Switch
Elif Kaya Suprisingly entertaining, no body soul exchange here.
Wedding Campaign
Elif Kaya Nothing special, US version was much better.
Darcy Paquet Captures the men's point of view well, but not the women's.
Welcome to Dongmakgol
James Brown Tries too hard to please everyone, resulting in a flat finish.
Davide Cazzaro Ups and downs and quite long but some parts are really powerful.
Tom Giammarco Technically well done. Wished it could have been more fantasy.
Elif Kaya Cute and impossible to hate despite its obvious flaws.
Darcy Paquet This is how you should make a Korean blockbuster.
Mark Russell Really great first half, but loses its way later on.
The Wig
Kyu Hyun  Kim The wig itself is scary enough. Silly resolution, as always.
Darcy Paquet Actresses are great, but done in by over-intellectualized ending.
The Windmill Palm Grove
Kyu Hyun  Kim Wonderful local color compensates for boring love story.
Darcy Paquet Rural, working class Korean woman turned into Madame Butterfly.
You Are My Sunshine
James Brown A far more successful rendering of a bittersweet life.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Magically transforms sap into amber.
Darcy Paquet Melodrama with rough edges, from a future directorial star.

James Brown Film school ideas assembled by an increasingly skilled minimalist.
Davide Cazzaro The "silent" and impressive surprise of Venice Film Festival 2004.
Filmbrain Tailor-made for international art-house set. Sumptuous, but shallow.
Tom Giammarco A restrained Kim Ki-duk film. His best in years.
Adrien Gombeaud Kim invites you to a fascinating ritual.
Adam Hartzell Pretty to look at, but otherwise as ephemeral as Jae's character.
Elif Kaya One of Kim's best and a must see.
Boris Trbic Based on an interesting premise. Too sweet, thin.
100 Days With Mr. Arrogant
Elif Kaya X Stay away.
Darcy Paquet X Waste of good film stock.
James Brown Fun, but nothing more. What is up with that guttural roar?!
Davide Cazzaro Funny. For the first ten minutes.
Tom Giammarco Light recreation of a comic book. Fun, but drags in parts.
Adrien Gombeaud Ryu Seungwan frozen in his own CGI.
Adam Hartzell Close, but no sequel.
Elif Kaya Been there, done that but still enjoyed the ride.
Au Revoir, UFO
Adam Hartzell The two Lee leads do their best to add a fish ranking.
Elif Kaya Sweet but it lacks a certain something. Only if you have time.
The Big Swindle
Elif Kaya Fun film with a great cast and a high tempo.
Davide Cazzaro X A new (?) horror (?) by director Ahn Byung-ki? Yes, unfortunately.
Tom Giammarco Nothing new.
Adrien Gombeaud X Looks like a spoof but it's not.
Elif Kaya So so effort, only to lovers of the genre.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Could have been a classic if it were only a little loonier.
Adam Hartzell X The bottom has been hit.
Tom Giammarco Proves Seagal can make bad movies internationally.
Dance With the Wind
Tom Giammarco Lacks the punch it needed to make it truly good.
Elif Kaya A watchable failure.
Adrien Gombeaud Pretentious.
Adam Hartzell Gutsy, got to give it up for that.
Darcy Paquet Confession time: I loved this movie.
The Doll Master
Tom Giammarco Fun if you don't think about how ridiculous the plot is.
Don't Tell Papa
Tom Giammarco About as bad as they come. Truly horrible father.
Everybody Has Secrets
Tom Giammarco Could have developed the characters better but not bad.
Adrien Gombeaud Good script, good actors, but director is missing.
Adam Hartzell It's no secret this film was a pleasurable comedy.
Elif Kaya Fun, sexy and enternaining, don't expect more though.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Heartily recommended to Lee Byung-hun fans. The rest beware.
Tom Giammarco Disappointing. The ghost seemed like an afterthought.
Elif Kaya Well meaning, but useless.
A Family
Davide Cazzaro A good debut feature with a perfect cast.
Adam Hartzell If ending's sappiness were toned down a tad, a perfect melodrama.
Tom Giammarco Made to manipulate your emotions. Succeeds in doing so.
Elif Kaya One of the best melodramas I have ever seen.
Fighter in the Wind
Tom Giammarco Starts well but characters fail to develop fully.
Adam Hartzell Like the wind, this passes you by quickly.
Elif Kaya Don't expect action or suspense.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Laughable history meets Stone Age martial arts flick cliches.
Flying Boys
Adam Hartzell I still carry valuable pieces from this unsatisfying whole.
Tom Giammarco Interesting story. Accurate portrayal of young adults.
Elif Kaya Non melodramatic and effective in its storytelling.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Earnest and warm-hearted but ultimately drags its feet.
Foolish Game
James Brown Genuine, composed, wry -- and persistently irritating.
Adam Hartzell Indeed.
The Ghost ("Ryung")
Tom Giammarco Would have given it higher points but the ending was confusing.
Ghost House
Tom Giammarco Couldn't hold my interest. Took two tries to get through it.
Elif Kaya Too much CGI, not enough script.
Hi Dharma 2
James Brown Funnier and more coherent than the high concept original.
Darcy Paquet As sequels go, a decent effort. From the monks' POV this time.
How to Keep My Love
Tom Giammarco Even the cuteness of Kim Jung-eun could not save this movie.
Elif Kaya Don't bother.
James Brown An eye-catching staircase leading nowhere.
Tom Giammarco Takes some patience to get through but ultimately worth it.
Elif Kaya A wonderful bad film.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Visually stunning but the "mystery" goes nowhere fast.
Ice Rain
Adam Hartzell Falters early on in its climb.
Love So Divine
Elif Kaya Don't bother unless you are a fan of either lead.
Tom Giammarco Follows the usual rom-com blueprint to perfection.
Lovely Rivals
James Brown Spirited idea, but the story progressively loses focus.
Tom Giammarco Would have been better if they had cut out most of the comedy.
Low Life
James Brown Likably conventional.
Filmbrain A more accessible Im, but emotionally flat.
Tom Giammarco Tries to cover too great a time period.
Adrien Gombeaud Complex, dark portrait of the post-war era. Im's most personal film.
Adam Hartzell Im Kwon-taek hits a low point.
Elif Kaya Mediocre.
Darcy Paquet I think Im was trying to prove too much in this film.
A Moment to Remember
Tom Giammarco Watch only if you are in the mood to cry.
Elif Kaya Must see if you are into melodrama.
Kyu Hyun  Kim You get to see the dental work in Son Ye-jin's molars.
Darcy Paquet Very, very slick. I hated it.
Mr. Gam's Victory
James Brown Frivolous, but extremely likeable and wonderfully photographed.
Tom Giammarco Well-told character-driven sports story.
Adam Hartzell A pleasant day at the ball park.
Mr. Handy
Elif Kaya Lovely female lead makes this humble rom com watchable.
Tom Giammarco An unpredictable, mature romantic comedy is a nice change.
My Brother
James Brown Taegukgi for the bullet shy.
Tom Giammarco Interesting family dynamics. Heavy on melodrama.
Elif Kaya Your usual Korean melodrama (meaning it's good).
My Generation
Davide Cazzaro Alienation of the young generation. New? No, gloomy and uninspired.
Adam Hartzell This film has grown on me more and more.
Tom Giammarco Interesting use of cameras. Realistic, but frustrating characters.
Darcy Paquet This director's short films show greater vision and creativity.
My Little Bride
Elif Kaya Cute leads, funny story, better than the original.
My Mother, the Mermaid
James Brown Bittersweet fantasy that occasionally dives a little too deep.
Filmbrain Some nice performances in an otherwise standard romantic drama.
Tom Giammarco Good acting in a generally underrated movie.
Elif Kaya Gains a lot from the lovely lead actress' superb performance.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Jeon Do-yeon is magnificent. Wish the film had stronger legs though.
Once Upon a Time in HS
Filmbrain Gripping, brutal, but heartfelt portrait of youth.
Tom Giammarco Good story but the brutality of the fight scenes left me cold.
Adrien Gombeaud A teen film, a historical drama, a political satire, and more...
Adam Hartzell And I thought Calculus was hard.
Elif Kaya Solid coming of age story, raw fight scenes, nostalgia.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Not as slyly ironic as Yu Ha's Marriage. Still enjoyed it greatly.
The President's Barber
Adam Hartzell Song Gang-ho AND Moon So-ri? You expected much more.
Elif Kaya Strangely offending in its cuteness in the second half.
Adam Hartzell War films/Horror films, my least fave genres, so an uphill battle.
Elif Kaya The horror is not effective, but it has other worthwhile qualities.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Fine ensemble acting propels a straightforward Viet Nam horror.
Tom Giammarco Horror of war and ghosts from the past make for a good film.
James Brown Astonishingly soulful, intelligent & self-aware personal document.
Davide Cazzaro An outstanding, unforgettable work. Don't even think to miss it.
Adam Hartzell Saved the year from being a complete toss off.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Compassionate, open-minded, liberal in the best sense of the word.
Davide Cazzaro Subtitle: A Hero Extraordinary. not the film, though.
Tom Giammarco First viewing disappointing, second was better.
Darcy Paquet Interesting lives don't always make interesting movies.
Romance of Their Own
Tom Giammarco Got attention because of the actors. Watch only if you're a fan.
Elif Kaya Not worth your money.
Darcy Paquet Not a bad start, but completely loses it at the end.
S Diary
James Brown Subtle Diary it ain't. Very pushy and totally awry.
Elif Kaya Starts to smell towards the end, but still enjoyable.
Tom Giammarco Childishly cute 'revenge' movie. Character motives unclear.
Samaritan Girl
James Brown Provocative, obscure, and a little silly: KKD at his most sincere?
Davide Cazzaro Quite underrated. One of Kim Ki-duk's best.
Tom Giammarco Could not identify with the characters at all!
Adrien Gombeaud A simple film about loving and growing up.
Elif Kaya Might be a good introduction to Kim, my least fave.
Boris Trbic Cliched and pretentious. Early Fassbinder it is not.
The Scarlet Letter
James Brown Pathetic indulgence of a cine-theorist in search of an audience.
Davide Cazzaro You can study film wherever but if the inspiration lacks...
Filmbrain Gratuitous male fantasy. Laughably awful.
Tom Giammarco The never-ending trunk scene ruined this movie.
Elif Kaya Nicely directed, tidy and well acted (but mysogynist).
Kyu Hyun  Kim Well-acted but wholly unpleasant. A genuinely decadent film.
Shin Sukki Blues
Tom Giammarco Dull body-switch movie.
Elif Kaya Nothing special.
Shit Up!
James Brown Screwy redemption-themed comedy with poor script and execution.
A Smile
Adam Hartzell I hope Choo Sang-mi gets more leading roles.
So Cute
Davide Cazzaro An eccentric debut. A little entangled but some parts are great.
Darcy Paquet Seems to aspire to Kusturica, but falls significantly short.
Adam Hartzell I like to think about what could have been more than what was.
Elif Kaya A different sort of storytelling, but that's about it.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Slinky and entertaining. The deja vu stuff is a total tease, though.
Someone Special
James Brown Curveball romance that delightfully surmounts its chestnut hook.
Davide Cazzaro A big disappointment. Take a look at Jang's first two films.
Tom Giammarco Good acting, loved the characters.
Elif Kaya A different sort of rom com, give it a try.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Don't say Nay(oung) to this charming & quirky Jang Jin romance.
Darcy Paquet Jang Jin's best film to date, and an absolute pleasure to watch .
Spider Forest
James Brown Too intense, but genuinely mysterious.
Davide Cazzaro Surprisingly underrated. Great story and atmosphere.
Tom Giammarco Wonderfully atmospheric and full of symbolism.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Song Il-gon's empathy overcomes the art-movie trappings.
Spin Kick
Tom Giammarco Similar to many films about underdog athletes, but fun anyway.
Elif Kaya Nothing new here, average.
Tom Giammarco Strong, simple film made better by Choi Min-shik's acting.
Adam Hartzell That man Choi Min-shik's got mad skills and mass range.
Spy Girl
James Brown Kim Jeong-hwa's magnetism is an ace in the hole; the rest is junk.
Tom Giammarco Like Kim Jeong-hwa, but the film is very childish.
Adam Hartzell There's nothing secret about this film's service to a burger chain.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Please stop insulting N. Koreans by making "comedies" about them.
Sweet Sixties
Adam Hartzell I wanted this to be so much better than it was.
Kyu Hyun  Kim A pleasant comedy for the nostalgically inclined. That's all.
James Brown Wildly overblown, histrionic, mind-numbing bombardment.
Davide Cazzaro Welcome to "Seoullywood".
Tom Giammarco Captured the heart of the nation--with good reason.
Adrien Gombeaud Not worse than a Michael Bay Film... not better either.
Adam Hartzell Kang continues his reign.
Elif Kaya Melodramatic, grand and gritty, a must see for Korean cinema.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Surprisingly effective, considering its ersatz Spielbergianisms.
Three... Extremes
Tom Giammarco Miike Takashi's Box is the best of the three shorts.
Elif Kaya Cut: gory, superbly acted, moody and funny.
To Catch a Virgin Ghost
Adam Hartzell It is what it is, unless I'm seeing something that isn't there.
Tom Giammarco Interesting mix of genres takes a predictable twist.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Wish all the jopok got killed off in the first five minutes.
Too Beautiful To Lie
Darcy Paquet Overly cute, but not entirely ineffective.
Elif Kaya Silly, entertaining and heartwarming, only to rom com lovers.
Two Guys
Tom Giammarco If you think hitting people is comedy, you'll love this film.
When I Turned Nine
Adam Hartzell I don't think I'll like these kids even when they turn 30.
Elif Kaya Exceptional child actors, decent story.
James Brown Kwak varies & depletes his pet subject with a dash of self-reflection.
Adam Hartzell I've suffered enough, Kwak, shorten your films, please!
Tom Giammarco Winner of the award for Most Product Placements.
Elif Kaya Wasted leads in an obvious cash-in job.
Darcy Paquet Not as bad as its rep, but no Sassy Girl.
The Wolf Returns
James Brown Those crazy days of summer. Is the cops and robbers plot necessary?
Tom Giammarco Entertaining while watching but instantly forgettable.
Darcy Paquet Seemed like a good idea, but the humor feels forced.
Woman is the Future of Man
James Brown Gloomy, instantly forgettable affairs.
Filmbrain Hong IS the future of cinema. Gets better with each viewing.
Adrien Gombeaud Hong touches the frontiers of fantastic cinema.
Adam Hartzell My least fave Hong film, but there's tough competition.
Elif Kaya A masterpiece.
Kyu Hyun  Kim Clever and funny as usual, but Hong's drunks are getting tiresome.
Boris Trbic A poignant, intriguing tale about love and growing up.

     Participating critics include:   Paolo Bertolin (Italy, based in Berkeley, CA),  James Brown aka katsuben (originally New Zealand, based in Adelaide, Australia),  Davide Cazzaro (based in Venice, Italy),  Filmbrain (based in NY),  Tom Giammarco (US, based in Samrye, North Cholla Province, Korea),  Adrien Gombeaud (Paris, France),  Adam Hartzell aka atom (US, based in San Francisco),  Elif Kaya aka Eliza Bennet (based in Istanbul, Turkey),  Kyu Hyun  Kim (US/Korea, based in Bay Area, CA),  Darcy Paquet (US, based in Seoul),   Mark Russell (Canada, based in Seoul),  Boris Trbic (based in Melbourne, Australia).   Please understand that many of our critics live outside Korea, so there may be some delay before they are able to watch new films.

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Koreanfilm.org / Last updated July 27, 2006