Monday, 3 January 2011

English Chosun Has Some Soft Kid Gloves.

So... Shim Hyung-rae directed another movie, called "The Last Godfather" with Harvey Keitel.  I'm thinking about seeing it just so I can give you the play-by-play.

looks like... quite a movie.  Mr. Shim seems to be pulling a Woody Allen, and starring in the film as well.

You might remember him from Dragon Wars, or D-Wars, a monstrousity of a movie that generated a lot of buzz in Korea because he wrapped it in the Korean flag and played "Arirang" at the end.

I wrote about that patriotism run amok - and how it nearly worked, at least on the homefront, where for a week or two, his movie was above critical reproach, before people finally nodded at each other and admitted, "yah, that actually was a bad movie" -- the same way Star Wars fans spent a short few days in "New Star Wars Movie!" bliss before collectively admitting that The Phantom Menace sucked, too.

(by the way: "Star Wars Episode 1.1 The Phantom Edit" Also known as the Corrector's Edition" - a fan re-editing of The Phantom Menace, is actually a much better movie.)

You can read that post here: "Irony and Uber-Nationalism" - it also features a youtube video at the beginning that was my first introduction to the singer Jang Sa-ik, now one of my favorite Korean artists.

Anyway, the Chosun English is covering Shim Hyung-Rae's latest foray into making movies, "The Last Godfather," and they dropped this doozy of a line, "Although "Dragons Wars" set a record for a Korean film of being released in 2,277 theaters in the U.S., rumor has it that it failed to make a profit."

Which, if you're keeping count, might be the most artful use of mitigating language I've ever encountered.  Mitigating language is, of course, the art of saying things more nicely: instead of "No." We say "Sorry, I can't." because it's nicer.  Instead of "Give!" we say "Sorry to bother; if you don't mind, could I just use that for a mo'?"

Well, I can't think of a nicer, gentler way to say "Ya tried hard, buddy, but it sucked, and it tanked." than "Although "Dragons Wars" set a record for a Korean film of being released in 2,277 theaters in the U.S., rumor has it that it failed to make a profit." (italics mine)

On the other hand, if somebody handed Shim Hyung-rae the keys to another film, after the monstrosity that was D-wars (and I saw it, in the theater no less: I paid my 8000 won, spent my two hours, so that I have earned the right to say it sucked the big one), at least M. Night Shyamalan can take heart, knowing that he'll probably find work again, too.

(the last airbender was a crime against art and storytelling: as a fan of the cartoon series, I might write about it sometime, but let's just say that "it was a letdown" is about tantamount to saying, "rumor has it that it failed to make a profit")

Oh by the way: happy new year!


Paul Ajosshi said...

I saw The Last Godfather on opening day and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's not a good film, but tere's pleasure to be found if you're a fan of The Three Stooges or that kind of early twentieth century slapstick. Far superior to D-Wars, but still not going to make big bucks at the American box office.

Roboseyo said...

I like it that the frozen frame on the embedded videos at the bottom of the article show Mr. Shim with a vacuum cleaner on his mouth.

Thanks for the short review, Paul.

Roboseyo said...

I've got to say, with all of Korea's really, really excellent filmmakers, it's sad that Shim is the only one who's tried to direct films in English, in order to "bring Korean cinema to the world"

That is to say, of all the people I'd choose to "represent," it wouldn't be him.

Paul Ajosshi said...

As for the vacuum cleaner, one of the less funny scenes.

As for Shim being the only one to direct films in English, Park Chan-wook may have his first English language release coming up which should be interesting:

At least this time Shim has gone back to what he knows best - comedy. Though he still remains a porr director and gets quite possibly the worst performance imaginable out of Harvey Keitel.

The Waygook Effect said...

Yep, the Last Airbender was the biggest disappointment of 2010 for me.

I'm still scratching my head how they screwed it up with such a great cartoon to base it off.

Jin said...

Bong Joon-ho is also making a big SF film that will mostly be in English.

Roboseyo said...

THAT's what I'm talking about. Thanks for the news, Jin.

Jin said...

I forgot to mention the veyr talented Kim Ji-Woon, who is also involved in a film for Lions Gate, starring Liam Neeson.

Roboseyo said...

Great topic! i like it.