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Shamelessly stolen from Michael over at It Rains… You Get Wet.

Oldboy Korean Movie1 – A movie you love with a passion

Oldboy: saw it in a tiny – practically empty – 50-seater screen [Aberdeen, Belmont Cinema] and just fell in love right there. It’s got plot, style, direction, acting, editing, originality, and groundbreaking themes that the re-make probably hasn’t touched with a bargepole: I’m not rushing to watch it! Such a fine example of original, bold, and brave film-making.

High School The Musical Logo2 – Movie you vow to never watch

Don’t think I would purposely decide to never watch a particular film on grounds that it’s potentially bad (I’ve sat though old propaganda films, terrible B-movies, outrageous exploitation films with no problems), but you’d be hard-pushed to convince me to watch the High School Musical movies, or any of those “he/she dies of cancer at the end” manipulative sob-fests.

Children of Men Clive Owen Michael Caine No more babes future london dystopia3 – Movie that literally left you speechless

Children of Men: My friend Spencer and I literally walked home slack-jawed, glancing at each other occasionally and muttering phrases like “No way”, “Holy shit” and “Fuck me” for 20 minutes after we left the cinema. Unbelievable, powerful film-making, paired with groundbreaking technical precision that should be watched big, loud and uninterrupted.

City Of God Brasil Brazil Lil Ze Rocket Drugs Crime Gangs4 – Movie you always recommend

City of God: usually to people that haven’t yet been swayed to world cinema yet. My DVD of this has been continuously whored out for the past 5 years. Actually, I don’t even know where it is any more… Poor Rocket! Take that acclaimed coming-of-age crime film Gomorrah, turn that son-bitch sideways, and stick it straight up your candy ass!

Barry Pepper Hollywood's unsung hero5 – Actor / Actress you always watch no matter how crappy the movie

I try to catch as many Barry Pepper films as I can. For me, he’s one of American cinema’s unsung heroes, never the leading man, but always putting in a top shift, and connects with the audience so effortlessly. Jackie Chan too, although he’s done so many movies that it’s hard to keep tabs – and had a few ropy hollywood outings.

Zooey Deschanel GROSS6 – Actor / Actress you don’t understand the appeal of

Zooey Deschanel: seems to have carved herself out as the go-to queen of the quirk. I cannot stand her cutesy, look at me, bug-eyed, big-fringed, dressed-like-a-tranny-from-the-1980s vibe. Arrested Development is Michael Cera’s get out of jail free card, or else he’d be cast off in the same boat.

Russell_Crowe7 – Actor / Actress, living or dead, you’d love to meet

See next question – LOL. Seriously, I’d love to sit down and have a few beers with Russell Crowe. Of all the egos, stars, and reported stories from behind the scenes, he’s been the most fun to follow through the years, and sounds like he’d be a great drinking buddy. It helps that he can act the pants off of most people too, at least when he puts his mind to it.

Gina Gershon OH MY GOD SHE IS SO DAMN HOT8 – Sexiest actor / actress you’ve ever seen

I have always exclusively reserved my Hollywood-wood for the lovely Gina Gershon (Those eyes! Those lips! That hair!) – she’s like an expensive whiskey that keeps getting better with age. Although recently I saw a few photos of Italian actress Sophia Loren and my life hasn’t been the same since. Too close to call. Maybe Lizzie Capplin, or Penelope Cruz. Toughest question on the list for sure.

The Good Bad Weird Korean Blockbuster Dream Cast9 – Dream Cast

The Good, The Bad & The Weird is as close to a ‘dream movie’ I’ve seen in real life. However, if I were a producer I would go for… Brian De Palma directing an international action-thriller with an ensemble including Javier Bardem, Jean Reno, Penelope Cruz, Barry Pepper, Moritz Bleibtreu, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel – all in their prime.

Boyd Crowder Raylan Givens walton goggins timothy olyphant justified10 – Favourite actor pairing

When Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) are in the same scene my telly, brain, and Marshall stiffy pretty much explode simultaneously. The back-and-forth banter between those two is some of the best-written TV out there, and the actor’s chemistry is sublime.

BASEketball Court Matt Stone Trey Parker I hear your moms going out with SQUEAK]11 – Favourite movie setting

If I was living in a world where BASEketball or Death Race 2000 were actual sports I’d quit my job tomorrow. Being dropped into a Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, MicMacs, Delicatessen) or Luc Besson (Fifth Element, Adele Blanc Sec, Angel-A, Nikita, The Last Battle) would be wildly entertaining, although I know for a fact that this is going to change when Snow Crash is finally made – come on Hollywood, pull your finger out!

Amores Perros12 – Favourite decade for movies

I think the 2000s is a tough decade to beat, so much emerging talent and superb movies. Probably helps that I spent most of the decade in front of a cinema screen.

Oldboy, Amores Perros, Mystic River, A Bittersweet Life, Children of Men, Kill Bill Vol 1, Together, No Country For Old Men, 3:10 to Yuma, Battle Royale, Memento, The Fall, Intacto, Infernal Affairs, The Woodsman, Bourne Ultimatum, District 9, 3-Iron, Brick, Eternal Sunshine, Primer, Lilya-4-Ever, In Bruges, City of God, Love Me If You Dare

Commando John Matrix Rocket launcher four barrel carnage moustache guy multipl deaths13 – Chick flick or action movie

Action; every single time. I like the odd chick-flick now and again – Just Like Heaven, Princess Bride, SATC – but even the Mrs prefers a good old action-film over the chick-flicks.

James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing Sean Connery George Lazenby Roger Moore Timothy Dalton Pierce Brosnan Daniel Craig14 – Hero, villain or anti-hero

Two words – James. Bond. Total hero.

Survive Style 5+ Vinnie Jones 15 – Black and White or colour

Colour for the most part. I’m not particularly adverse to black and white – it has its merits – but I’ll take ‘modern cinema’ every time over the classics. Imagine watching films like Volver, Scott Pilgrim, The Fall, Lego Movie, Kill Bill and Survive Style 5+ in monochrome / B&W… no chance.

Since I started this site I’ve been bleating on about how much I believe that Korea is one of the strongest film industries in the world regarding the actors, directors and the canon of associated staff that it takes to produce world-class, top-notch films. It looks like Hollywood is finally catching up, recognising this talent, inviting the cream of the crop over to tinsel town. Here’s a list of my favourites that have made the jump, so far…

Park Chan Wook Films Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK, Thirst, StokerDirector – Park-Chan Wook (박찬욱): easily Korea’s most famous cinematic export, and firmly established as one of the world’s greatest directors with over a decade’s worth of acclaimed movies, including; Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK, and Thirst. His trademark style? Meticulous direction, spellbinding visuals, powerful storytelling, and often violent & disturbing subject matter. When Hollywood came a-knockin’ he managed to get Nicole Kidman, Jacki Weaver, and Tony & Ridley Scott involved in his first English-language movie – Stoker, which was well-received.

Lee Byung HunActor – Lee Byung-hun (이병헌;): top of the K-actor pack in my books. He’s starred in some of the biggest and best Korean movies of all time: JSA: Joint Security Area, A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad The Weird, and I Saw The Devil. Has recently brought his Asian clout to Hollywood as ‘Storm Shadow’ in the past 2 GI Joe movies, and will appear in RED 2 this summer. He can do everything from rom-coms, to flawed heroes, to villains, and his 20-year career’s been so strong that he has his own Wiki page just for awards and nominations.

Kim Jee Woon - Tale of Two Sisters, Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad The Weird, I Saw The Devil, The Last Stand

Director – Kim Ji-Woon (김지운): another director running with a hot streak of impressive movies: A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad The Weird, and I Saw The Devil. For his debut American production he managed to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger (and coax arguably one of his best performances after a long line of duffers), Forrest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Peter Stromare, and the prolific Luiz Guzman. While it was not on the same level as his national works, The Last Stand far outshone Sylvester Stallone’s attempt at a similar genre movie – Bullet to the Head.

Bae DoonaActress – Bae Doona (배두나): Breaking out internationally in Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, and later The Host & Air Doll, Bae was picked up by the Wachowski brothers for Cloud Atlas, for which she was unanimously praised, sealing her a place in their next film, Jupiter Ascending.

RainActor – Rain (Jung Ji-Hoon, ): broke through with I’m A Cyborg, but That’s OK – and immediately jumped over to star in both Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin. Hasn’t done much since, but that’s OK too, because he’s also a singer, songwriter, dancer and model.

Bong Joon-ho Memories of Murder, The Host, Mother, SnowpiercerDirector – Bong Joon-ho (봉준호): despite having less films than the previous two directors, they still pack a punch: Memories of Murder, The Host, and Mother, all being successful exports. Bong’s next film is the much-anticipated sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, and…

Song Kang-ho.. Actor – Song Kangho (송강호): One of the most watchable and charismatic actors in Korea today, he has a magnetism that can only be described as ‘star power’ and a range that most actors can only dream of. Appearing in many of Koreas biggest movies: Shiri, The Quiet Family, JSA Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, The Good The Bad The Weird, and Thirst – I’m excited to see that Bong Joon-ho has pulled him across the Pacific.

As you can tell, it’s quite a tight and incestuous list, as the great combinations of elite directors and actors stick together, to create world-class film after world-class film.

But have they been good Korea moves for those involved? (Sorry, had to put that in) You could argue that something is being lost in translation, as the two released directorial efforts, although strong, aren’t on the same level as their previous works, and the actors, despite being in some big roles, are usually word-shy, or over-dubbed in post-production. To that, I would say… so what? Let’s throw Nolan, Scorsese, Bale, Fassbender and Streep into South Korea and make them do a Korean film, speaking Korean, and see how that sits with a completely different culture!

South Korea Flag

Remember this flag, as it may – someday – replace The Hollywood Sign!

Although it’s quite a recent trend, and a fairly short list in the grand scheme of things, I hope that this cross-pollination of talent  continues, and shines a bright light on everyone’s previous – overlooked – work in K-Cinema.

Note: there’s a load of Korean Born / Korean Descendent actors that have spent the majority of their life working and acting in America like Rick Yune, Ken Jeong, Sandra Oh, C.S. Lee, John Cho, Sung Kang, Daniel Dae Kim and so on… but to include them would be cheating.

So it’s that time of the year when everyone’s supposed to sit down with their loved ones and watch films like Ghost, Titanic, Dirty Dancing, 50 First Dates, Pretty Woman and all the rest. But here’s the thing – your boyfriend doesn’t want to watch these films (unless you’re also participating in Steak and Blowjob Day – in which case, it’s 100% your night after all, ladies)

Sure they can be watching a chick flick, but she better put March 14th in her diary!

For all the lonely hearts, recent singles, jaded couples, sociopaths and Valentine’s day haters – here’s a list of the perfectly appropriate but non-gushy films for all scenarios to keep your heart warm on February 14th

Feeling ugly?
The Toxic Avenger: after a horrifying accident in which he falls into a vat of nuclear waste, a geeky weed called Melvin is left with a mutated body, gammy face, green skin and permanent pink tutu; yet one small act of kindness is all it takes for him to hook up with his dream woman!! They say love is blind, and Sarah is no exception! This my friends is a new-age beauty and the beast with enough manly stuff to keep the vomit down.

Feeing Lonely?
Hard Candy: continually failing when it comes to getting your sexual targets away from the bar and into your bed? This film has all the answers. Opening up with one man’s brilliantly successful attempt at wooing his prey into his castle… watch and learn folks!  Also applicable viewing if you’re worried about an age gap.

Fancy your workmate?
Secretary: Always thinking about bumping uglies with that person across the room? This movie is the perfect example of all the do’s and dont’s of a standard inter-office romance. It shows you how to deal with the sexual frustration, horsing around, bondage bonding with the special one, stain removal and what not to do when sitting on your boss’ chair.

Newly Single?
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind: find out what it’s like to actually erase your ex from memory… then be glad that you didn’t because your wank bank would be totally empty again!

Rather be with your family?
Oldboy: If this Korean masterpiece teaches us all one thing, it’s that – no matter how difficult or strange your situation is – you should always love you’re family more than anything else in the world… maybe not THAT much though!

Stuck in a relationship?
Saw: Feeling like your partner has shackled you down and is making you miserable? Consider this light-hearted buddy-flick an inspirational piece of how to rid yourself of the heavy chains of an overbearing relationship… yes it hurts, but as we see from the lead character, that feeling of freedom is worth the pain.

Picture the scene, your author here gets kidnapped by an angry band of disagreeable movie bloggers and left for dead on a remote Desert Island. After 3 months of living off of tree bark and spring water he finds a rusty old lamp, tries to polish it up and WHAM – out pops a Genie. “Oh great one” Says the Genie, stretching, and giving his balls a seriously overdue scratch “You have awoken me from a 10,000 year slumber, and while I’m eternally grateful my wife will be pissed so I need to nip off home and do some washing up. Quickly, tell me eight things you would like…”

After a short think Paul replies. “I’ll have a solar-powered hot tub, an everlasting bottle of chilled Dos Equis, a bottomless bag of hot McChicken Sandwiches and the five most attractive Swedish female volleyball players the history books will ever see”

Fast-forward 25 years and Paul’s getting old, terminally jaded, has serious weight issues, no sexual boundaries left, alcoholism and 5 moody women / 47 unwanted children running around. He yearns to re-live the days where he sat around watching movies all day without a care in the world. It’s even more annoying that he found a 50″ TV and DVD player under a rock some 24 years ago… If he could go back to that fateful day and ask for eight of his finest movies, he would have probably said…

1) BASEketball: This film never fails to make me laugh. Watched it dozens of times growing up, know the script inside out and will never get bored of this. Anything featuring the minds behind Airplane! The Naked Gun and South Park is a surefire winner. Best Scene: pretty much every psyche-out

2) Kill Bill I:
nothing comes closer to filling a man’s insatiable lust for a great revenge tale like Tarrantino’s first Kill Bill Movie. With an epic story and more action than you could shake a stick at. Everything about this is textbook cool. Best Scene: House of Blue Leaves showdown.

3) Goodfellas: one of the best movies ever made and definitely the best gangster film. Screw the Godfather Trilogy, this is where it’s at. Diamond cast and technically it’s still one of the slickest films out there. Best Scene: Shoe Shine / In What Way Am I Funny?

4) Happiness: Every single subject brought up in this film is totally wrong. Rape, paedophilia, sodomy, abuse, massacre, masturbation… yet Todd Solondz manages to make this one of the most unforgettable black comedies known to man. Best scene: Seymour Hoffman’s phone manner.

5) Love Me If You Dare:
outstanding French movie about a life-long romance that starts off brilliantly but strains with age. Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard set the screen on fire long before they were household names. Best scene: the dares in school.

6) Oldboy: Korean masterpiece that’s just too damn good to never see again for the rest of your life. Everything about it is just stunning. Best scene: the single-take corridor fight.

7) The Wire: bit of a cheat here but seeing as I rate this higher than any film I’ve seen to date I’d love nothing more than to have the free time to watch it again, and again, and again. Best Scene: Omar, Stringer Bell and Brother Mouzone in the empty building.

8) Swedish Nymph Volleyball Milfs Go Wild*: On a practical note, any red-blooded male’s going to need some company until he’s rescued, dies or tries to escape!

Click here to see the full list of everyone’s Desert Island DVDs

Note: now you know why this isn’t a creative writing blog… *May not be a real movie, but you get the picture!

Oldboy: After being imprisoned for 15 years with no explanation, one man has to search through all his skeletons and figure out who he offended. I can sum this up in one word: exceptional. And everything about this film is exceptional. Choi Min-sik and Yoo Ji-tae give career-defining performances. The editing throughout is top rate and there’s some fantastically dark comedy. The finale is one of the biggest cluster-and-head-fucks I’ve ever seen and despite around 10 viewings it still turns my stomach. The score is astounding, particularly how it complements the climax. That single-take fight scene in the corridor is stunning and there’s even some unique, but Improper, use of CDs, claw hammers & a toothbrush! An utterly remarkable and 150% un-remakable story (so relieved to hear that the hollywood re-make has been axed). The taboo material will be too much for some but otherwise this is flawless. This is still my favourite, and one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Score: 9/10

As the year/decade draws to a close I thought it’d be interesting to see which films have left the biggest impression on me. Naturally, I didn’t catch every film released over the past ten years but here’s my personal top ten:

1) Oldboy: 2003 – South Korea
2) Amores Perros: 2000 – Mexico
3) Mystic River: 2003 – America
4) A Bittersweet Life: 2005 – South Korea
5) Children of Men: 2006 – UK
6) Kill Bill Vol 1: 2004 – America
7) Together 2000 – Sweden
8) No Country For Old Men 2007 – America
9) 3:10 to Yuma 2007 – America
10) Battle Royale 2000 – Japan

I’d also give the following an honourble mention: Memento, The Fall, Intacto, Infernal Affairs, The Woodsman, Bourne Ultimatum, District 9, 3-Iron, Brick, Eternal Sunshine, Primer, Lilya-4-Ever, In Bruges, City of God, Love Me If You Dare

Just realised that they’re almost all action/dramas. Weird.