December 26, 2013

Top Ten Korean Movies of 2013 (Sort of)

I started getting into Korean movies because of the crime pics and the fright flicks but lately, I'm beginning to think the country is just as skillful at cranking out historical epics. I feel bad about not including the lovely foodie family drama Cafe Seoul, the horror classic Memento Mori, and the twisted thriller Helpless, but such is life. Herewith the top ten Korean movies I saw in 2013...

1. The Show Must Go On (2007): Song Kang-ho turns in yet another stellar performance as a mobster who simply wants to lead a suburban life without ever forsaking his violent career. Sound like The Sopranos, a bit? You got a problem with that? I don't!

2. Penny Pinchers (2011): If there's any justice in the world, this millennial romcom about two 20-something have-nots will make superstars of writer-director Kim Jung-hwan, and actors Song Joong-ki and Han Ye-seul.

3. Pieta (2012): No one makes you feel as electrically awful about humanity as Kim Ki-duk can (and does here in this maternal vengeance pic that's "sickening" in the best way possible).

4. The Day He Arrives (2011): While I immensely enjoyed Isabelle Huppert in In Another Country this year, director Hong Sang-soo's boozy, broken bromance is better as a whole.

5. Forbidden Quest (2006): Pornographic literature gets an impressive historic treatment (and more than a few laughs) in this costume drama from writer-director Kim Dae-woo.

6. Masquerade (2012): The other period piece that knocked my socks off stars Lee Byung-hun as an actor who must sub in for an ailing king. (Someone gift me one of those black sheer hats next Christmas, please!)

7. Intangible Asset Number 82 (2008): You may say it isn't truly a Korean movie but this documentary about an Australian drummer who journeys to Korea in search of his shaman-muse is too good to omit.

8. Attack the Gas Station! 2 (2010): A comedy sequel that comes ten years after the original movie has gotta suck, right? Wrong! You can argue with me over my laughter for about two hours.

9. My Beautiful Days (2002): I watched this one in the beginning of the year but I still get gushy about Im Jong-jae's spellbinding look at youth going nowhere, anywhere, somewhere...

10. A Company Man (2012): My loyalty to jopok films necessitates the inclusion of this crime pic which definitely features the most exciting fight scenes I saw in 2013. When's the last time violence was this well-dressed?

Click here to see the top ten Korean movies I saw in 2012.
Click here to see the top ten Korean movies I saw in 2011.
Click here to see the top ten Korean movies I saw in 2010.
Click here to see the top ten Korean movies I saw in 2009.
Click here to see the top ten Korean movies I saw in 2008.

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