Korean , Imported Total admissions: My opinion is that the movie would have benefited from treating these two parts as discreet entities. Alas, by the end, the super-annoying melodrama gobbles up the potentially interesting story.
The interesting part involves Baek Jang-mi played by Son Ye-jin , the young leader of a pickpocket gang. She had inherited this gang, called "The Sam-sung Faction," from her dead mother. But she has expanded and modernized it, employing new talents, eliminating rivals, currying favors from the big bosses with sweet deals and manipulating the law.
Seen in this way, Baek's life becomes a success story of a young career woman managing to survive and flourish, beating the obstacles lain down by the sexist Korean society. The annoying melodrama unfolds with Jo Dae-young Kim Myeong-min as its protagonist. Jo is a police detective whose mother is a sort of Queen of Pickpockets, jailed for seventeen times. He sees himself as the living personification of Justice, but in reality, he is nothing more than a spectacularly incompetent idiot, whose specialty seems to be hurling loud, self-righteous insults at those around him.
These two storylines intersect through a series of really far-fetched coincidences. Jo then saves Baek from being assaulted by her competitors in the course of pursuing an unrelated case. And then Jo is assigned the pickpocket gang case, and naturally Baek becomes one of his targets. There are still tackier coincidences revealed later that bring these two characters even closer.
Director Lee Sang-gi might have intended all this as a big commentary on the impossibility of living down your Fate, but I would call them a bunch of hoary melodramatic clich? Jo Dae-young is truly a public nuisance, to put it nicely. Why do Korean filmmakers love the men who cannot sever their umbilical cords even nearing middle age? It is downright suffocating to watch Jo's antics with his mother.
Don't Korean women of Kang's age have any right to exist independently from their role as mothers? More importantly, Jo is just too incompetent. He does not seem to use his brain at all in trying to catch criminals. All he is good at is beating people up. As the movie approaches the middle section, Jo's story begins to infect Baek's with its awful melodrama, like a leech transmitting a parasite into its host body while draining blood.
The result is disastrous: All this for the single purpose of cattle-prodding the crybaby Jo somehow toward the direction of Baek. How about performance and style of the film? To put it simply, they are excessively self-conscious. The acting in Open City is, there is no nicer way to call it, one-dimensional. No inner workings, no design: One might argue that playing a criminal requires a certain level of swagger and exaggeration. But even taking that into consideration, the pickpockets in the film are way too obvious.
If real pickpockets behaved like the Samsung Faction members and flash show-offy smiles every time they scored a hit, they would have been busted long time ago. Poor Son Ye-jin is told to swish her hips in a "sexy" manner throughout the movie, and such direction ironically blows away her own natural sexiness. But it's not the fault of the cast. Kim Hae-suk as Kang somehow manages to give a good dramatic performance, despite the sticky way her character is presented. Son and Kim Myeong-min, too, are certainly pros who know how to deliver the goods, even though their roles confine them into one-dimensionality.
I must say, though, I am a bit concerned with Kim, the kind of actor who immerses himself deeply into a character. Since the character here is boring, colorless and apparently brain-dead, he comes off pretty badly, much worse than Son.
I hope playing Detective Jo did not leave a very bad aftertaste for Kim, and if it had, I hope he has recovered from it safely. Finally, giving this formulaic crime melodrama the title Open City is an insult to Roberto Rossellini.
I am not a fan of the latter's neo-realist films but still! The producers could have at least chosen a more appropriate title in English. But like any sport, it can offer up moments of drama, as when the South Korean women's handball team competed at the Athens Olympics.
The efforts of the players made them briefly famous to the multitudes of South Korean viewers who were following the match on TV. The fact that four years later, a film has been made from this story, and that it has emerged as the first smash hit of , is not in itself surprising.
Yet this is in some ways a surprising movie. The director, for example. Yim Soon-rye made an acclaimed debut in with Three Friends, the story of three high school graduates hesitating at the threshold of adulthood. In she followed this up with another story about men, the musical drama Waikiki Brothers. Like her debut, it earned her strong praise from local critics, but both films flopped at the box office and they never really caught on with international film festivals, either.
In general, her work displays a strong interest in everyday frustrations and injustices, and a clear-eyed vision that never romanticizes her subjects -- though as viewers we share in the compassion she feels. She's not blockbuster material, in other words. Which is why it's such a surprise that she made a low-budget sports film that expresses so much of her personal style, and that it became a blockbuster.
If there are thrilling sports movies, and emotional sports movies, then Forever the Moment definitely fits in the latter category.
The long prelude to the Olympics involves for us viewers very little handball. Yim is more interested in the characters, and how they all relate to each other.
Mi-sook Moon So-ri is a veteran player who won a gold in Barcelona but has since seen the team slide in quality. With a young son and a husband who can't pay his debts, she gets a job at a discount mart and takes her son along to handball practice.
Hye-kyung Kim Jung-eun has retired from playing but has been successful as the coach of a pro team in Japan. When the coach of Korea's national squad suddenly quits, she is asked to fill in -- but she is faced with an undisciplined team filled with older and younger players, and hardly anyone in their prime.
Much of the dramatic action of the first three-quarters of the film involves the changing relationships between the extended cast of characters. Some of the standard developments we expect in any sports movie pass by unacknowledged, and some patience is required of us -- in a sense, we are obliged to relate to the team members as ordinary people rather than heroes in the making. When the games do start, however, our patience is rewarded with a truly gripping final reel. Director Yim is not one to exaggerate emotions, but there is no need here.
Although not what you would think of as exceptional, the unfolding of the final match is dramatic and suspenseful enough as it is. Great, climactic moments in the movies are often transformational: But this film is too honest to suggest that that is what is at stake here. The Korean title translates as "The Best Moment in Our Lives," and while a bit sappy, it does more or less capture the point of the story.
The moment is important because the players have decided to invest so much into it, even if all they will ultimately take away from it is the memory.
We know that everything will return to normal soon after the game ends, and we are already familiar with the rather dull backdrop to their lives back in Korea.
This juxtaposition of the thrilling sports finale and the film's stubborn realist point of view is perhaps its greatest strength. The dreams of the women are in themselves bittersweet, which is something you can't say of the average sports movie. Darcy Paquet Hellcats Relationship drama Hellcats centers around three women who live together in an old neighborhood of Seoul.
Ami Kim Min-hee, below is a year old screenwriter who has been holed up in a motel trying to finish a screenplay, but like most people involved in the film industry, her career is not progressing smoothly. Frustrated with life as it is, she receives a further shock when her boyfriend Won-seok double-crosses her. Furious and disoriented, she ends up channeling her energies into two things that look likely to get her into further trouble: Meanwhile Ami is getting little sympathy from her older sister Young-mi Lee Mi-sook of Untold Scandal fame , who rents out a room to her.
A successful year old interior designer working on a new theatrical production, Young-mi has an active love life, and has lately gotten entangled with the much younger Gyeong-su. However an unexpected surprise is awaiting her on her next visit to the doctor's office.
Young-mi also has a daughter in high school named Kang-ae An So-hee from the phenom teen pop group Wondergirls. A bright, optimistic sort of kid, Kang-ae enjoys a strong friendship with Mi-ran who grew up in Brazil, but she worries about her boyfriend of three years Ho-jae. In short, Ho-jae seems more interested in computer games than in getting naughty with her. Kang-ae and Mi-ran draw up a plan to push the relationship along, but this leads in unexpected directions.
Director Kwon Chil-in stumbled upon a hit in with Singles , a film that relied on good casting and a somewhat more honest take on modern relationships to catch viewers' attention. Five years later, Hellcats the Korean title is "Some Like It Hot", just like the Billy Wilder classic sticks to much the same formula, and though it failed to draw as much interest at the box office, the film still has its charms.
The story of Ami in particular is engaging, as we follow her through wild swings in her resolve and emotional state. Here too, the emotional tone she strikes is just right -- she doesn't come across as weak or immature, but her confusion feels genuine.
The fact that her character shines the brightest in a film that also stars the legendary Lee Mi-sook is quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately the film's other two stories are less developed; Young-mi and Kang-ae are interesting enough characters, but we never really get inside their heads as we do with Ami.
Perhaps there just wasn't time in two hours to simultaneously develop these three separate stories, or more likely? Still, the film projects a breezy energy that makes it stand out from the average Korean rom-com. Not prudish, if not particularly racy either, Hellcats is a tasty two-hour diversion. In his book Electric Sounds: Wurtzler describes DX Listening as ". Radio enthusiasts competed with geographic distance, with technical limitations of radio components, and with each other in assembling a radio set capable of capturing signals of distant origination" p.
That letter writer from the United States was marking his territory with a U. It was these DX listeners who were partly responsible for requiring radio stations to regularly identify their station and location throughout a broadcast. Some radio stations in the U. Of course, now radio stations would never provide unfettered access to anyone but corporate advertisers.