A Werewolf Boy [Review]

Every now and then, I subject myself to a marathon of movie-watching or drama-binging. Given that I have 4 more papers to produce this week, I very naturally fell into my most natural safe-haven response: cuddling down with some drama-watching.

———————————————————-

This movie was beyond my expectations.

I remember hearing about it when it first hit screens in 2012, and the cast was more than enough to get me hyped for a watch. Park Boyoung (Speedy Scandal) was an adorable actress who sold me on the humanity of her acting in her last hit with Cha Taehyun and Song Joongki is my heart’s resident man-child who first stole screentime in the drama Triple. So seeing the two matched up in a “human drama” launched it into my must-watch list.

A year went by though and as I was stolen into grad school, I didn’t put much energy into looking for it. Just by coincidence, it happened to be on Netflix tonight, and I immediately headed in, unprepared for its heart-wrenching plot.

Park Boyoung is probably my favorite crier in the whole world. Her crying neither snivels, nor is the type that simpers its way into your ears. She is all parts beautifully real, with whimpers of rage and frustration, desperation and fear all wrapped up into her tears.

In this story, her character Suni finds a werewolf boy in a new countryside home leading to an incredibly heartwarming (but ultimately heartbreaking) vignette of her life there for that short time.

We start off in modern-day setting, with Suni as an elderly lady with white hair and living in the United States with her children. Called back to Korea to settle a sale of her old home, she flies back and embarks with her spitting-image granddaughter to spend the night at her old home.

And so we are introduced to the world of her meeting with Chul-soo, the werewolf boy she finds in an old warehouse outside her new home. Her mother assumes Chul-soo, who can’t speak and acts akin to a wolf, is a tragic result of one of the 60,000 orphans of the Korean War. Through a series of glimpses at the ridiculous bureaucracy of policies, they temporarily ‘adopt’ Chul-soo into the family.

His feral instincts to eat everything possible frustrates and disgusts Suni at first, whose personality seems fairly proper and clean. 

But when he protects her from sleazy city boy Ji-tae (Yoo Yeon-seok) who has bought the country home for them through birth riches, Suni begins to find a new appreciation for Chul-Soo.

And so she begins to train him using a dog training manual. Using orders such as “wait”, “stop waiting”, “go” and “stop” and rewarding him with ‘dog pats’ to break him into expected social etiquettes. She continues to feed his endless curiosity by teaching him to write, and trying to convince him to copy her and learn to speak. Slowly, they grow on each other, and Chul-soo is completely a loyal puppy, following her around and obeying all her commands.

Ji-tae becomes slowly enraged at his perceived-fiancee’s growing affection for Chul-soo, and is determined to prove his feral nature. As such, this leads to a series of acts that bring the local police and a researcher into town. 

The researcher is aware that Chul-soo is part of an experiment funded by the government to build “shadow armies” whose soldiers were inhumanly strong. But because of Chul-soo’s domestication, the police sees no purpose in putting down (i.e.: killing) an innocent, and the researcher agrees. However, in a final desperate act after a confrontation with a neighbor in town, Ji-tae finally unleashes a violent domino effect that results in Chul-soo transforming into a werewolf. 

The ending for this story broke me. Despite knowing it could not end perfectly, the implications of the conclusion broke me inside. Not because of bad writing, but simply the sadness of the reality of what happens. And the haunting factor of Suni’s last words to Chul-soo, when she leaves him in the wilderness to escape being shot dead:

"Wait for me, I’ll come back."

And that incredible moment, when Chul-soo speaks the first and only words we ever hear from him throughout the entire movie:

"Don’t go."

In short, this movie was worth every minute. If ever there was a human drama to watch, this would be it. Just try to not to bawl too hard when it concludes.

@8 months ago with 3 notes
#wolf boy #korean #song joongki #park boyoung #movie #werewolf 

黄晓明 《风声》

written, composed for the 2009 Mainland Chinese movie 《风声》/The Message

——————————————————

Wow. It’s been a year or two since I watched this movie, and it still remains a large part of my memory. There are generally several factors that will induce me to “enjoy” or “like” a movie, and “Message” hit me in the gut in one of these very ones:

  • heartwarming moments, love in any shape or form in the sweetest possible way
  • gutwrenching pain, emotionally, physically, psychologically or otherwise

Clearly, I like my directionally opposing emotions. 

This movie came out and was one of the recommended pieces when I was taking my “popular media” class in China during my study abroad year. In recent years, there has been a popular surge in the change of the face of film media in Mainland China, wherein directors have been going through “generational” face-lifts through the aesthetics, scenery and film production end of things. Feng Xiaogang and Zhang Yimou are both filmmakers who come from the 3rd or 4th generation of filmmakers/directors in China (if I’m not mistaken), where much of the production focuses on quality shots, shiny special effects and clean-cut costume and set designs. The director of this particular movie, is cut of the same cheesecloth. 

In recent years, much of the products from Chinese film that I’ve appreciated most are the nitty gritty depictions of historical fiction/non-fiction. There’s the saying that goes that a story doesn’t resound with its audience when the writer did not actually live through that part of life themselves. And I’m personally of the opinion, that all the ‘modern-day’ dramas and movies that Mainland China has thus produced have mostly been… (in my opinion) fairly forgettable. Mostly due to the fact that China, I feel, has not yet fully found itself as a personable identity in the modern world. It is still heavily struggling with its own cultural identity on the mainstream scene. 

But what China is undeniably strong at, is knowing its own history. And ohh does China have history. In these series of movies, including 《十月围城》、《叶问》、《风声》, the background story comes from a painful, deep recess of Chinese history. Each dealing with the modern turn of the century in various regions of Eastern China. And being born an ABC, with an out-of-touch understanding of the pain and aggression and humiliation that the Chinese people underwent through a sudden naked exposure to the rest of world in the late 19th and early 20th century is an amazingly poignant subject to be touched upon. 

《风声》 is extremely harsh as a movie piece, with no regard for soft hearts and innocent souls. Violence is less gory as it is imaginably, tangibly painful and wrenching. The subjects toyed with are reminiscent of a visceral China whose past has never left, and continues to spur on the political agenda of the country. 

Watching the torture scenes were painful far beyond a simple physical sense. Much of the pain came from the anger risen from an emotional connection with ethnic and cultural calling. And even despite some extent of demonization of the other in the movie, it was not done so much so that one could necessarily develop an anger towards the target country as a result. 

And despite knowing the propagandist approach behind the purpose of this movie, I can’t help but cry every time I listen to this song. The beauty and strength of the people of the time despite the intense amount of uncertainty surrounding their lives is certainly palpably visible throughout the entire film. And gritty though the plot and content may be, the ultimate message for the film really is beautiful and touching in ways that a fluffy lightweight modern-day movie could never do to depict China in all its complexities.

@2 years ago with 1 note
#the message #li bingbing #huang xiaoming #china #movie #film #review #黄晓明 #风声 

(via )

@2 years ago with 17 notes
#pride and prejudice #darcy #elizabeth #movie 

Little Black Dress (2011)

Nothing else in this movie touched me especially so.

Probably because it didn’t seem particularly organic, a lack of effective music, haphazard scenes put together and actresses, who had excellent acting chops, but didn’t seem to have real chemistry between them to establish real camaraderie. 

But this scene. This scene ripped my heart to little pieces. 

Heaven knows how many times a warm lap, a soft touch on my head, a good cry, holding onto my mother’s legs has been the most comforting thing in the world.

@1 year ago with 3 notes
#little black dress #yoon eun hye #acting #movie #korean #touching #crying #parents #mom 

Flipped: A Movie Review

Flipped: A Movie Review

————————————————————————

Starring Callan McAuliffe (Bryce) and Madeline Carroll (Julianna), Flipped is an adorable slice-of-life movie that depicts the relationship between a very reluctant young boy and a forward girl over the course of several years. 

Again, my weakness: cute love stories stemming from longterm platonic relationships. There are many reasons that I’ve fallen in love with this cute narrative. And it certainly isn’t limited to the fact that I love the toned-down, homely presentation of the playing out of the movie. The he-said, she-said perspective also allows a full enjoyment value of the aspects of the two misunderstanding-filled youngsters. 

Obviously, my hormones are at a point where any sequence can tip me over the edge and set me into a torrent of tears. This was one such instance. 

Throughout the movie, Bryce very clearly dislikes Julianna’s forward pursuit of him and keeps attempting to set distances between the two of them. However over time, he begins to grow feelings for her and starts to appreciate her strength and spirit. Her love for the nature and beauty of life around her is incredibly mature for a girl her age and this much is understood and appreciated by Bryce’s live-in grandfather Chet (who is a fantastic side character; so lovable! I love grandpa characters. Especially the gruff on the outside, soft on the inside kinds). 

Julianna eventually develops a love for a beautiful large sycamore tree in their neighborhood next to a bus stop after her father comments on why sometimes beauty is “more than a sum of all parts”. She climbs it every morning and is one day horrified to discover that the HOA is trying to raze it and build a new home in its place. When it finally is broken down, she cries for two weeks for having lost it. This is the beginning of a mark of change in Juli as she begins to try to see everything around her in the words of her father. And to her disappointment, she begins to see Bryce with a lessened appreciation.

It is actually through the process of Bryce’s grandpa’s growing friendship with Juli that Bryce actually begins to like her. And the process is hilariously cute all the way through with understatements of humor all throughout. Of course, a little bit of drama undercuts when Bryce, through his cowardly, passive personality does not confront his friend for an offensive remark against Juli’s retarded uncle. 

Eventually Bryce tries to confront his feelings rather unsuccessfully with Juli and ends up setting her off in anger through his forward actions. After two days of attempting to talk to her without progress, he finally sets to digging a hole in her newly fixed lawn and when she boils in anger to try to confront him, he sets to plant the sycamore tree she so lovingly protected in the beginning of the movie. 

—interruption: I totally teared up and had to rub my throat in an attempt to fend off a possible loud sob. Such… a … touching… moment! —

All in all. Loved it. And I LOVE that they used the Everly Brother’s “Let it be me” track as the overall theme. Not to mention, a fantastic selection of Golden Oldies! This is totally my kind of movie. Loved it. 

Bah. The tears. They just won’t stop.

@2 years ago with 4 notes
#flipped #movie #2010 
A Werewolf Boy [Review]

Every now and then, I subject myself to a marathon of movie-watching or drama-binging. Given that I have 4 more papers to produce this week, I very naturally fell into my most natural safe-haven response: cuddling down with some drama-watching.

———————————————————-

This movie was beyond my expectations.

I remember hearing about it when it first hit screens in 2012, and the cast was more than enough to get me hyped for a watch. Park Boyoung (Speedy Scandal) was an adorable actress who sold me on the humanity of her acting in her last hit with Cha Taehyun and Song Joongki is my heart’s resident man-child who first stole screentime in the drama Triple. So seeing the two matched up in a “human drama” launched it into my must-watch list.

A year went by though and as I was stolen into grad school, I didn’t put much energy into looking for it. Just by coincidence, it happened to be on Netflix tonight, and I immediately headed in, unprepared for its heart-wrenching plot.

Park Boyoung is probably my favorite crier in the whole world. Her crying neither snivels, nor is the type that simpers its way into your ears. She is all parts beautifully real, with whimpers of rage and frustration, desperation and fear all wrapped up into her tears.

In this story, her character Suni finds a werewolf boy in a new countryside home leading to an incredibly heartwarming (but ultimately heartbreaking) vignette of her life there for that short time.

We start off in modern-day setting, with Suni as an elderly lady with white hair and living in the United States with her children. Called back to Korea to settle a sale of her old home, she flies back and embarks with her spitting-image granddaughter to spend the night at her old home.

And so we are introduced to the world of her meeting with Chul-soo, the werewolf boy she finds in an old warehouse outside her new home. Her mother assumes Chul-soo, who can’t speak and acts akin to a wolf, is a tragic result of one of the 60,000 orphans of the Korean War. Through a series of glimpses at the ridiculous bureaucracy of policies, they temporarily ‘adopt’ Chul-soo into the family.

His feral instincts to eat everything possible frustrates and disgusts Suni at first, whose personality seems fairly proper and clean. 

But when he protects her from sleazy city boy Ji-tae (Yoo Yeon-seok) who has bought the country home for them through birth riches, Suni begins to find a new appreciation for Chul-Soo.

And so she begins to train him using a dog training manual. Using orders such as “wait”, “stop waiting”, “go” and “stop” and rewarding him with ‘dog pats’ to break him into expected social etiquettes. She continues to feed his endless curiosity by teaching him to write, and trying to convince him to copy her and learn to speak. Slowly, they grow on each other, and Chul-soo is completely a loyal puppy, following her around and obeying all her commands.

Ji-tae becomes slowly enraged at his perceived-fiancee’s growing affection for Chul-soo, and is determined to prove his feral nature. As such, this leads to a series of acts that bring the local police and a researcher into town. 

The researcher is aware that Chul-soo is part of an experiment funded by the government to build “shadow armies” whose soldiers were inhumanly strong. But because of Chul-soo’s domestication, the police sees no purpose in putting down (i.e.: killing) an innocent, and the researcher agrees. However, in a final desperate act after a confrontation with a neighbor in town, Ji-tae finally unleashes a violent domino effect that results in Chul-soo transforming into a werewolf. 

The ending for this story broke me. Despite knowing it could not end perfectly, the implications of the conclusion broke me inside. Not because of bad writing, but simply the sadness of the reality of what happens. And the haunting factor of Suni’s last words to Chul-soo, when she leaves him in the wilderness to escape being shot dead:

"Wait for me, I’ll come back."

And that incredible moment, when Chul-soo speaks the first and only words we ever hear from him throughout the entire movie:

"Don’t go."

In short, this movie was worth every minute. If ever there was a human drama to watch, this would be it. Just try to not to bawl too hard when it concludes.

8 months ago
#wolf boy #korean #song joongki #park boyoung #movie #werewolf 
1 year ago
#little black dress #yoon eun hye #acting #movie #korean #touching #crying #parents #mom 
2 years ago
#the message #li bingbing #huang xiaoming #china #movie #film #review #黄晓明 #风声 
Flipped: A Movie Review

Flipped: A Movie Review

————————————————————————

Starring Callan McAuliffe (Bryce) and Madeline Carroll (Julianna), Flipped is an adorable slice-of-life movie that depicts the relationship between a very reluctant young boy and a forward girl over the course of several years. 

Again, my weakness: cute love stories stemming from longterm platonic relationships. There are many reasons that I’ve fallen in love with this cute narrative. And it certainly isn’t limited to the fact that I love the toned-down, homely presentation of the playing out of the movie. The he-said, she-said perspective also allows a full enjoyment value of the aspects of the two misunderstanding-filled youngsters. 

Obviously, my hormones are at a point where any sequence can tip me over the edge and set me into a torrent of tears. This was one such instance. 

Throughout the movie, Bryce very clearly dislikes Julianna’s forward pursuit of him and keeps attempting to set distances between the two of them. However over time, he begins to grow feelings for her and starts to appreciate her strength and spirit. Her love for the nature and beauty of life around her is incredibly mature for a girl her age and this much is understood and appreciated by Bryce’s live-in grandfather Chet (who is a fantastic side character; so lovable! I love grandpa characters. Especially the gruff on the outside, soft on the inside kinds). 

Julianna eventually develops a love for a beautiful large sycamore tree in their neighborhood next to a bus stop after her father comments on why sometimes beauty is “more than a sum of all parts”. She climbs it every morning and is one day horrified to discover that the HOA is trying to raze it and build a new home in its place. When it finally is broken down, she cries for two weeks for having lost it. This is the beginning of a mark of change in Juli as she begins to try to see everything around her in the words of her father. And to her disappointment, she begins to see Bryce with a lessened appreciation.

It is actually through the process of Bryce’s grandpa’s growing friendship with Juli that Bryce actually begins to like her. And the process is hilariously cute all the way through with understatements of humor all throughout. Of course, a little bit of drama undercuts when Bryce, through his cowardly, passive personality does not confront his friend for an offensive remark against Juli’s retarded uncle. 

Eventually Bryce tries to confront his feelings rather unsuccessfully with Juli and ends up setting her off in anger through his forward actions. After two days of attempting to talk to her without progress, he finally sets to digging a hole in her newly fixed lawn and when she boils in anger to try to confront him, he sets to plant the sycamore tree she so lovingly protected in the beginning of the movie. 

—interruption: I totally teared up and had to rub my throat in an attempt to fend off a possible loud sob. Such… a … touching… moment! —

All in all. Loved it. And I LOVE that they used the Everly Brother’s “Let it be me” track as the overall theme. Not to mention, a fantastic selection of Golden Oldies! This is totally my kind of movie. Loved it. 

Bah. The tears. They just won’t stop.

2 years ago
#flipped #movie #2010 
2 years ago
#pride and prejudice #darcy #elizabeth #movie