Extra! Korea

May 29, 2011

Documentary film The True Taste Show may be banned

Filed under: censorship, food, legal issues, movies — extrakorea @ 1:48 pm

Remember the upcoming documentary, The True Taste Show, in which the filmmaker alleges that restaurants pay for positive reviews on food review shows that are scripted?

On Wednesday, MBC filed an injunction with Seoul Nambu District Court to request a ban on screening the film. The network is among those identified in the film as introducing “top restaurants” that paid to be on the respective programs rather than being actual favorite restaurants.

The maker of the documentary is taking it in stride.

Director Kim Jae-hwan said he was not greatly concerned, adding, “MBC’s injunction will be a lot of help at the box office.”

[ … snip … ]

“When the court hearing begins, I will provide evidence, including recordings of promotional agency officials commissioned by the production company to handle liaison efforts between entertainers and restaurants,” Kim added.

Where and when can you watch it (provided that it doesn’t get banned by the douche-nozzles at MBC)?

It will be opening on June 2 at ten theaters nationwide, including the CGV in Seoul’s Daehangno neighborhood and the Lotte Cinema outside Konkuk University.

July 18, 2010

These “singers” are busy with non-singing activities

Filed under: actors/actresses, movies, music, television — extrakorea @ 1:10 pm

According to this post, the members of the girl group T-ara are so busy acting in dramas, movies, and variety shows that they can’t sing on stage or record in the studios.

Jiyeon has already been in a lot of movies and dramas, Eunjung has been in a drama and preparing for a movie, Hyomin has been preparing for a drama, and Qri, Boram and Soyeon have been regulars on variety shows. When album activities occur, the girls become very busy.

A representative said, “T-ara’s Hyomin is preparing for a drama shoot and future individual activities,” he said, “in this case, it means they girls can’t regularly be on stage or record often or else members would be missing and that’s why we recruited a new member to hold activties and keep interest in T-ara and not the dramas/movies.”

I thought that they are, you know, singers. It reminds me of the time that Uee, of the girl group After School, was so busy with her acting that she couldn’t join After School in performances.

This kind of thing, combined with the fact that most girl groups only have one or two members who can really sing well, reinforces the notions that:
a. to be a “singer” in South Korea you don’t need to be able to sing well
b. South Korea doesn’t really have singers and actors like other countries do. That is, in other countries, singing and acting are professional careers that require ability and specialized training. In Korea, there are just “celebrities” who both sing and act, but don’t dedicate themselves to either and don’t do either particularly well.

March 21, 2010

Movie about No Gun Ri fails to impress at premiere

Filed under: movies — extrakorea @ 1:14 pm

Remember that movie about No Gun Ri that’s coming out, the one with the poster that I took issue with? Well, this past Thursday, it had its premiere at a theater filled with journalists, critics, and photographers, and it failed to impress them.

Prior to its completion, the production had been widely publicized as a project that was described as a labor of love from everyone involved with most of the headlining actors forgoing pay to off-set the lack of funding it received.

[ snip ]

But for a film that took so much time, effort, and passion from its cast and crew, it got a lukewarm response from the local press and movie critics.

The post-screening Q&A session with the cast and director was an awkward affair. Reporters who were clearly unimpressed with the film were reluctant to ask critical questions out of respect for the subject matter.

Executive Producer Lee Woo-jung who championed the project from day 1 looked as though he had already lost confidence in the box office potential of the film.

Actually, it was not the first time that the film had been screened … or had had a lackluster response.

Last year, the long delayed film premiered in competition at the Pusan International Film Festival but failed to gain much buzz.

Speaking of which, why is the film being released now, since, according to some, it was completed almost four years ago? As ROK Drop points out, the timing is very suspicious, since it just happens to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

February 17, 2010

Movie director charged with attempted rape of 14-year-old

Filed under: crime, movies — extrakorea @ 11:55 am

A movie director has been charged with attempting to rape a 14-year-old girl.

A chief officer of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors Office revealed on the 17th, “The alleged movie director invited to his house a 14-year-old girl who ran away from home to sleep over night, via internet chatting. After leading her into his bed, he attempted to rape the victim.”

The only detail revealed about “A” is of his debut film in 2000, which apparently was about a serial killer. No other information has released, but stay tuned for more details.

Hmmm. I wonder if it could be Ahn Byeong-gi?


Even if he is convicted, there’s a good chance that he will receive a slap on the wrist. Look at what this guy did:

A man in his 20s hasbeen sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, making a videotape of the assault and then uploading it to the internet.

The 5th criminal division of the Busan District Court sentenced 25-year-old Mr. Yu to 30 months in prison for violating the law on the sexual protection of teenagers (청소년성보호).

He sexually assaulted a twelve-year-old, videotaped it, and uploaded it onto the Internet, essentially sharing it with all of the other violent pedophiles out there in Cyberland, and what punishment does he receive? Two-and-a-half years. The word “disgusting” doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.

January 19, 2010

Universal Studios’ largest Asian theme park scheduled to open in Korea in 2014

Filed under: economics, movies — extrakorea @ 6:23 am

After a delay of two years because of a lack of funding, Universal Studios has revived a plan to build a theme park in Hwaseong City, near Seoul. Scheduled to be begin construction in 2011 to be completed in 2014, it will be Universal Studios’ third in Asia, and its largest, as it will include a movie theme park, water park, and a resort that will include a golf course and condominiums.


September 6, 2009

How celebrities get rich despite box office flops and rare TV appearances: Commercials

Filed under: celebrities, movies, television — extrakorea @ 12:45 pm

Are you a celebrity whose movies bombed at the box office and who rarely appears on TV? No problem. Kim Tae-hee’s two movies were flops and she hasn’t acted on TV for years. Just do as she does, and appear in commercials. Lots and lots of commercials.

Fees of hundreds of million won are also a phenomenon unique to Korea. In the U.S., only professional models appear in commercials, which actors tend to avoid so as not to look like has-beens. This shows that acting alone can generate enough wealth in the U.S., whereas it rarely does in Korea.

[ snip ]

By contrast, a handful of actors and actresses dominate the film industry in Korea. “In a situation like this, many celebrities focus more on commercials than actual acting,” says Kim won-young, a copywriter.

July 10, 2009

Hey! Where’s John Cho?!

Filed under: actors/actresses, movies — extrakorea @ 5:36 am

The Chosun Ilbo has an article about the Korean actors and actresses who have starred in recent Hollywood movies. Mentioned were Rain (“Speed Racer”), Lee Byung-hun (“G.I. Joe”), Jeon Ji-hyun (“Blood: The Last Vampire”), and Daniel Henney (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”).

Hey! Where’s John Cho, who stars as Sulu in the summer smash “Star Trek“?!

July 3, 2009

Pixar’s Cho Ye-won and Peter Sohn

Filed under: movies — extrakorea @ 3:39 pm

Last month, we learned that Russell, one of the main characters in the hit movie “Up” was based upon Peter Sohn, a Korean-American who works at Pixar.
Now we learn about Cho Ye-won, who also works at Pixar.

June 18, 2009

Movie “Whispering Corridors 5: A Blood Pledge” receives 18+ rating because of suicide pact scene

Filed under: movies, suicide — extrakorea @ 4:03 am

If you’re familiar with Korean movies, you probably know that one of the most famous and successful series of movies has been “Whispering Corridors” and its many sequels: Memento Mori, Wishing Stairs, and Ghost Voice. (Though it’s not part of the series, Bunshinsaba is very similar.) All of them are horror movies that take place within girls’ high schools, and deal with topics that are often taboo. The first in the series outraged teachers because it depicted an enraged teacher beating up students. At that time, however, such things definitely existed and the movie merely portrayed something that the viewers were already familiar with (if not had actually experienced).
The fifth movie in the series, “A Blood Pledge,” has received an 18+ rating from the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) because of a scene in which a group of schoolgirls pledge to commit suicide together. (Later in the movie, one of them does kill herself. Her ghost then begins to torment the other, surviving members for not following through on their promise.) The rating was given because of the fear that the scene would inspire copycat suicides (called the “Werther effect” in Korea) in young students. (One young woman did, in fact, commit a copycat suicide after ex-president Roh Moo-hyun killed himself.)


—> Here is a review of the movie. It’s not very positive, but then again, the author didn’t like any of the other three sequels very much either. I, on the other hand, thought that “Wishing Stairs” was a very well-made horror movie, so I still intend to see “A Blood Pledge” myself and make my own judgment.

—> Also, Korea Beat has translated an article which discusses the question: “Why do Korean ghosts always seem to be female?”

June 2, 2009

“Thirst” to appear in American theaters next month

Filed under: movies — extrakorea @ 5:33 am

“Thirst,” the latest film by Park Chan-wook* and winner of the Juror prize at this year’s Cannes film festival, will be shown in American theaters next month.

* director of the Vengeance Trilogy (“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” “Old Boy,” and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance”), “JSA”, and “I’m a Cyborg but that’s OK”

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