Sunday, April 26, 2015

Film Review: Beneath (2013)

Beneath (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...difficult to recommend to anyone who's fatigued by the same ol' horror."

Amidst her father's retirement, Sam (Kelly Noonan) visits her father's mine to prove herself, but the crew become entrapped after an accident.

Beneath is a very straightforward horror film. The story follows Sam as she visits her father's workplace before his retirement. Of course, the one day she visits, everything goes wrong. So, the crew become trapped hundreds of feet below the surface. Almost immediately, Sam begins to hallucinate, and the rest of the crew follows suit. They see creatures in the dark and they begin to turn on each other. That's practically everything that happens. It leads to a very predictable ending, too.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Film Review: Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)

Children of the Corn: Genesis (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...the horror is nearly nonexistent..."

When their car breaks down on the scenic route, Tim (Corey Walker) and Allie (Kelen Coleman) find themselves in a remote farmhouse with a mysterious man known as Preacher (Billy Drago)...

Children of the Corn: Genesis follows Tim and Allie as they call for a tow. The pair won't be able to leave for another day, so Preacher allows them to stay the night. The couple are told not to wander, but, of course, Allie does so anyway. They find that there may be a kid in danger, and soon find themselves trapped in the home by a mysterious force. Some hallucinations and mistrust occurs, then it leads to this big set-piece climax that feels like it belongs in Bad Boys 2. I didn't like the ending, either.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Film Review: The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook (Review)
Australia/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

 "...some issues with the characters and writing, but it's generally a well thought-out horror film..."

Single-mother Amelia (Essie Davis) struggles to protect her annoying son, Sam (Noah Wiseman), after she reads him a book called Mister Babadook...

The Babadook follows Amelia and her son Sam. From the beginning, Amelia is clearly depressed and shares a bittersweet relationship with her son -- you can clearly see she's detached. Sam, on the other hand, misbehaves often. (i.e. He's obnoxious.) After Amelia reads Mister Babadook, she begins to believe she's being targeted by the ominous entity. So, she spends restless night trying to convince herself it's not real while trying to tolerate and protect Sam. The story is fairly straightforward -- it has deep themes, but they're very blatant. The ending of the film is decent. On one hand, it feels underwhelming; on the other, it's interesting, for lack of a better term.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Film Review: Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakable (Review)
United States/2000
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a creative, clever, and exciting superhero film."

A train derails killings everyone on board, except for security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis), who miraculously survives without any serious injury...

Unbreakable follows David Dunn after the accident. As he copes with the trauma and tries to return to a normal life, David meets Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a comic enthusiasts born with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta -- a disease that causes his bones to break easily. Elijah believes his vulnerable disease places him at one side of the spectrum, so there must be a man with unbreakable characteristics at the other -- David. Hesitant to believe it a first, David soon finds himself questioning his role in life and finds that he may have superhuman abilities. This is a film where the "less you know, the better," so I'll leave it at that. The ending of the film is great, though. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Film Review: Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a film that had a lot of promise, but falls a little short."

When the murderer of his parents is released from prison, Dwight Evans, (Macon Blair) a homeless wanderer, seeks his vengeance...

Blue Ruin is a fairly simple revenge thriller. The film follows Dwight after he exacts his vengeance on his parents' murderer, Wade Cleland. Unfortunately, the Clelands don't report Dwight, and decide to take vengeance into their own hands, as well. (The cycle of violence theme is very blatant.) So, Dwight decides to protect himself and his family from the Clelands, which causes more violence. That's practically the entire plot. There are a few surprises here and there, but nothing shocking or really worth noting, actually. It leads to a strong climax and solid ending.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top 13 Best Korean Movies on Netflix Instant (2015 Edition)

Well over a year ago, I wrote my first list: Top 10 South Korean Films You Probably Haven't Seen On Netflix. Unfortunately, since then, many of those amazing films have been removed from Netflix. In fact, the selection has been shrinking at an alarming rate for the past year, leaving only a few Korean films in the Netflix library. Fortunately, there's more than enough for one more "Best of" list. Without further ado, here's my list of the Top 13 Korean movies on Netflix Instant:

13. The Suspect
Read the review!
Watch it on Netflix!
North Korean defector Ji Dong-chul (Gong Yoo), who was framed by his boss, is chased by his betrayers and the South Korean intelligence service -- while chasing someone himself. The Suspect is cliche -- it's something we've seen a lot. Fortunately, The Suspect is also a wildly entertaining action film. If you're looking for blockbuster action, this is a must-watch.

12. Miss Granny
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Watch it on Netflix!
Upon learning she'll be sent to a retirement home, Oh Mal-soon (Shim Eun-kyung) wanders into a photo studio and miraculously emerges as her 20-year-old self. This fun, quirky, and lighthearted comedy is well worth your time. It had me laughing and smiling throughout its runtime, and Shim Eun-kyung delivers another wonderful performance. Don't miss it. (Honestly, due to my unrequited love for Shim Eun-kyung, I had to stop myself from placing this in first. Really.)

11. Kundo: Age of the Rampant
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Watch it on Netflix!
In mid-19th century Joseon, a group of expertly-skilled bandits fight for justice against greedy tyrants. They steal from the rich and give to the poor. This is an effective blend of exciting action, strong drama, and witty humor. If you're looking for something fun and stylish, albeit a bit cliche, this is for you.

10. Crying Fist
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Watch it on Netflix!
Down-on-his-luck boxer Tae-shik (Choi Min-sik) and young thug Sang-hwan (Ryoo Seung-bum) try to repair their broken lives through boxing. It may sound like your typical sports film, but Crying Fist manages to be much more. Its strong focus on two normal characters makes this film more powerful and relateable. Also, it's worth watching for the two leading performances alone.

9. No Doubt
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Watch it on Netflix!
When Choong-sik's daughter disappears in a small village, circumstantial evidence leads towards Se-jin, a child molester who recently moved into the village. No Doubt is a very dark and powerful drama. It's a drama that will make you question every character; it's an unbiased drama that will put you into everyone's shoes, and make you think. This is definitely not for those looking for something lighthearted.

8. Rough Cut
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Watch it on Netflix!
A film-within-a-film, a real gangster is brought onto the set of a film to star opposite of a bad-boy superstar with a large ego. As expected, the pair begin to clash... Rough Cut is a multilayer film. On the surface, you can watch a suspenseful thriller with a ferocious pace. If you want to look deeper, you'll find yourself thinking about its deep themes and characters. Well worth your time.


7. Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance
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Trying to save his sister, Ryu sells his kidney, but finds himself ripped-off - figuratively and literally. So, he and his girlfriend plan on kidnapping the child of a rich executive. Unfortunately, the plans fall apart... Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance is another dark and disturbing film with rich characters and contemplative themes. It's initially a little difficult to get into, but it only gets better on repeated viewings -- and I strongly recommend watching it multiple times.

6. Welcome to Dongmakgol
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Amidst the Korean war, a crashed U.S. pilot, two South Korean soldiers, and three North Korean soldiers find themselves in a secluded village free of war and violence. Welcome to Dongmakgol is far from a traditional war film. Although the war is important, this film focuses more on the people. This is a beautiful film with a powerful message - it can make you smile, laugh, cry, and feel.

5. New World
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A crime syndicate is shaken when the head of the operation dies in a car accident. A power struggle ensues between the second and third in command; meanwhile, the police use a mole to influence the tides of war. New World is a brilliant crime drama. It keeps you on the edge throughout its entire runtime thanks to its masterful suspense and engaging story.

4. I Saw The Devil
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Secret agent Dae-hoon (Lee Byung-hee) finds himself chasing serial killer Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik) after his fiancee is savagely murdered. I Saw The Devil is a brutal and disturbing. Yet, the film still has powerful themes and intricate characters -- it's not all for show. This is a film that can make you think about its characters and their actions as much as it can make your cringe from the violence. Not for the fainthearted, this is an experience worth having.

3. The Good, The Bad, The Weird
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A bounty hunter, a ruthless bandit, and an eccentric thief cross paths as they attempt to steal a valuable treasure map from each other. Quite the opposite of I Saw The Devil, The Good, The Bad, The Weird is an exciting action-adventure. This film is pure bliss -- I don't think it's possible not to have fun during this adventure.

2. Breathless
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An angry debt collector develops a friendship with a troubled high school student. Breathless is a powerful drama. It's very bleak and depressing as it revolves around troubled characters and the seemingly never-ending cycle of violence. It's a very evocative experience - it may not be sunshine and rainbows, but it's definitely something that makes you feel.

1. Oldboy
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Watch it on Netflix!
After being abducted and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is released and given 5 days to find out why. Oldboy is the ultimate revenge film. It's dark, disturbing, and gritty for the right reasons. It has character, mystery, thrills, and action. It's stylish and engaging. It's contemplative. The climax is unforgettable. This is a masterpiece. If you haven't watched this film yet, get to it!

There were quite a few other films I wanted to include in the list, like Traffickers, The Tower, and Dachimawa Lee, but then there wouldn't be much of a purpose for this list. I already had to extend this list to 13 from the original ten I had planned. In fact, I'd strongly recommend you check out most of the Korean films available on Netflix, so click here and browse. Let Netflix know we want more variety in our selection. Anyway, thanks for reading! Please share with your friends and stuff!

Also, check out my other website, Korean Movie Reviews, for more movie reviews. Thanks!