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Jane Fonda in Five Acts

Director Susan Lacy has the great advantage of a subject whose life has been extensively documented literally since birth.

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Fahrenheit 11/9

The messiness of Moore’s film starts to feel appropriate for the times we’re in. With a new issue being debated every day, is it any…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Seongyong Cho

Seongyong Cho

Seongyong Cho was born in Jeon-ju, South Korea. He did graduate work at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science
and Technology (KAIST) in Dae-jeon. His passion
for good movies continues its primitive rampage, which includes weekly pilgrimages
to the local multiplex. He started his blog in 2008 and writes nuumerous reviews. In the midst of that, he manages to find time for
books, music, exercise (usually treadmill and swimming), and corresponding
with other bloggers.

Suffocation with no redemption

May Contain Spoilers

"From where did it go wrong?", he asks to his friend in agony, but he will not get the answer for that question, and neither will others, because 1) it is already too late to ask that question due to their shattered relationships beyond repair and 2) everyone, including him, is not so willing to give the parts of the answer while not completely understanding their problems much. What they have here is the failure to communicate, and that ultimately results in the irreversible tragedy at the center of melancholic South Korean movie "Bleak Night"(2010).

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A gut-chilling Japanese thriller

May Contain Spoilers

It begins on the last day of the semester at a classroom of some Japanese junior high school. Though they will return to their school after a month, most of the students are very excited while waiting for the time to leave their classroom and enjoy spring break. They are mostly occupied with talking with or texting to their colleagues in the noisy classroom. They do not give a damn about what their teacher tries tell to them, while never imagining the terror she will soon unleash upon them.

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A world of apartheid and apartness

May Contain Spoilers

Sometimes people learn a hard life lesson about their world when they are young and innocent. Molly, a young white South African girl in "A World Apart" (1988), learns it in a way far more hurtful than usual. She wants her normal comfortable life to resume again, but her world is Johannesburg in the 1960s. She begins to grasp lots of injustices in her world, even while confused and hurt a lot by her parents as well as what happens to her and her family.

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The girlfriend who disappeared from the face of the earth

May Contain Spoilers

"'Will you walk into my parlor?' said the Spider to the Fly." - from the poem "The Spider and the Fly" by Mary Howitt.

The crucial moment in George Sluizer's chilling psychological thriller "The Vanishing"(1988) can be summarized with that quote. The Fly cannot resist the offer, simply because of his intense desire to know. The Spider cannot resist making an offer, only because of his cold curiosity about the result. He has a solid prediction based on his careful calculation, but he wants to know the result in his cruel experiment, like he previously tested himself before.

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It's a man! It's an ant! It's a Mant!

May Contain Spoilers

When I went to the Jeonju International Film Festival in this April, I was reminded again that the old theaters at the downtown of my hometown are gone. Most of them are now replaced by a bunch of multiplexes, and I can't say the old theaters were better than their replacements. While there were the big theaters where I could enjoy movies like "Independence Day" or "Starship Troopers," I remember too well how shabby several theaters were in early 1990s, compared to the current standard; I am happy with the comfortable seats, nice bathrooms, and agreeable viewing condition in multiplex theaters.

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Would you like to see my tattoos?

May Contain Spoilers

Is it love at first sight? It's certainly lust at first sight between them in the beginning. Something clicks inside. They soon begin their secret affair, and then, motivated by their common desire to escape from the world they're stuck in, they hatch a scheme to solve their problems once for all. They have a good plan. They can succeed if they carefully tiptoe along the thin line they draw. However, in the world of film noir, it is usually easier said than done.

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The Devil and Daniel Webster

May Contain Spoilers

Like many tales about the good vs. the evil, the evil mostly steals the show from the good in "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941), a cautionary moral tale based on Stephen Vincent Benét's short story which is sort of a New England version of the tale of Faust. Though it was made 70 years ago, the movie remains as a darkly enjoyable movie with the wonderful moments that can both amuse and chill us with the subtle creepiness pervading its rural background. Sure, we are happy to see the soul of an ordinary American luckily saved from the eternal damnation in the end, but, folks, can we deny that we had a fun with Mephistopheles before the obligatory finale?

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The boy who played chess with life

May Contain Spoilers

In the middle of Boaz Yakin's "Fresh" (1994), there is the crucial scene that gives us the insight into its hero's plan. While playing chess with his father, he learns a lesson. And then he applies its logic to the real world for his own purpose. However, in the world case, the game is not a simple matter of win or lose. A small false move can result in not a mere checkmate but a dour outcome for him. And (this is one of the most interesting aspects of the film) he is only a 12-year-old kid. He can do it, and we know that, but can he endure to the end?

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The China / Fukushima Syndrome

May Contain Spoilers

While I heard the alarming reports coming from the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, an unforgettably intense sequence from "The China Syndrome" (1979) immediately came to my mind. An earthquake occurs without warning. The power plant is automatically shut down. They get a problem with the level of the coolant. The plant is on the verge of nuclear meltdown. The catastrophe of epic proportions may happen as a consequence.

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Varieties of Leaves of Grass

May Contain Spoilers

As far as I know, "a mixed bag" is a negative expression, but I think that is an appropriately positive one in case of "Leaves of Grass" (2009) for its seemingly disjointed combination of crime story and philosophy. The movie throws such discrepant stuff into its plot that it could actually make a good shopping list: Latin, marijuana, Socrates, crossbows, poetry, bongs, Heidegger, family, catfish, Whitman, parallel lines, menorahs, swastikas, murder, and so on.

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